Reports: U.S. officials say China Eastern Airlines crash may have been intentional

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May 17 (UPI) — A China Eastern Airlines flight that crashed earlier this year in Guangxi province and killed 132 may have been caused by an intentional act, U.S. authorities investigating the crash said Tuesday.

Unnamed sources told The Wall Street Journal and ABC News that someone in the cockpit input information into the plane’s controls causing it to fly nearly vertically into the ground. Evidence indicates the plane’s flaps weren’t engaged and landing gear wasn’t put down at the time of the crash.

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“The plane did what it was told to do by someone in the cockpit,” a source told the Journal.

The Boeing 737-800 jet was en route from Kunming to Guangzhou when it crashed March 21 into the mountains in southern China. The crash killed all 123 passengers and nine crew members.

Chinese officials said the passenger jet slammed into the ground with such force that it created a 66-foot-deep hole in the ground. They said they’ve not uncovered any mechanical or flight problems with the plane.

If the plane’s crash was intentional, officials aren’t certain whether a pilot caused it or if someone broke into the cockpit and overpowered the crew. ABC News reported that investigators investigated one of the pilots, who appeared to be struggling with personal issues prior to the crash.

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