BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s aviation regulator said on Monday that investigators are still looking into the cause of the crash of China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5735, nearly a year after the plane went down, killing all 132 people on board. person.
A Boeing Co (BA.N) 737-800 crashed into a mountainous area in the southern province of Guangxi on March 21, 2022, in China’s deadliest aviation disaster in 28 years.
On the eve of the anniversary, China’s Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC) said experts had already inspected more than 100 pieces of the plane’s wreckage.
“But because the accident is so complex and so rare, the investigation is ongoing in depth,” the Civil Aviation Authority said.
“Then, the technical investigation team will continue to do cause analysis, experimentation and verification work, and will issue relevant information in a timely manner according to the progress of the investigation.”
The regulator added that investigations focused on how key components performed before the accident, and looked at air traffic control, passengers and what the plane was carrying.
Boeing declined to comment and China Eastern did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A summary of an initial report released last year before the plane’s black boxes were analyzed gave no indication of the focus of the investigation. It indicated that the crew was qualified, the plane was properly maintained, the weather was good, and there were no dangerous goods on board.
The cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder have been sent to a US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) laboratory in Washington, a move Beijing has supported despite rising political tensions between the two countries.
Two people familiar with the matter told Reuters last year that investigators looking into the crash were studying the crew’s actions on the flight deck.
Responding to online rumors of an intentional accident, the Civil Aviation Authority said at the time that the speculation had “severely misled the public” and “interfered with the work of investigating the accident”.
The 737-800 is a widely used predecessor to the Boeing 737 MAX, and has been in service since 1997 with a strong safety record.
Chinese officials said last year that a final report on the causes of the crash could take two years or more to compile.
Reporting by Beijing Newsroom, Sophie Yu and Brenda Goh; Editing by Louise Heavens and Andrew Heavens
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