After falling into a catastrophic plunge, the pilots of the lost China Eastern Airlines flight refused to reply to calls from air traffic authorities.
The jet was going close to the speed of sound just before slamming into a mountainside. Because such an impact can wipe evidence and even damage data recorders built to withstand most accidents, it may make investigators' job more difficult.
- Flight 5735’s black boxes have yet to be discovered.
- The search is tough due to the rough terrain and the state of the plane, which plummeted from around 29,000 feet (8,840 metres).
- Boeing Co. 737-800 was knifing through the air at more than 640 mph, and at times may have approached 700 mph.
“The preliminary results indicate it was approaching the speed of sound,” said John Hansman, an astronautics and aeronautics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“It was a severe descent.”
- At sea level, sound travels at 761 mph, but when the air temperature drops, it slows to 663 mph at 35,000 feet.
- Investigators have given no major clues as to why a plane carrying 132 people crashed near Wuzhou in southern China on Monday, stating at a press briefing late Tuesday that it was too early to draw any firm conclusions.
- All 123 passengers and nine staff members are believed to be dead.
- China Eastern grounded its 737-800 aircraft, and thousands of domestic flights were cancelled across the country on Tuesday.
- A two-week safety review has been requested by officials.
What happened to China Eastern Airlines flight MU5735?
Flight MU5735, which was flying from Kunming to Guangzhou, plummeted from its cruise altitude.
- Before the dive, the airliner was travelling at around 595 mph.
- The plane was cruising at 29,100 feet at 11:50 a.m. (Indian time).
- It plummeted to 9,075 feet after 135 seconds.
- It was just 3,225 feet above the ground 20 seconds later.
- In 95 seconds, the plane plummeted over 26,000 feet.
In an unexpected twist, the dive appeared to come to a rest for 10 seconds before continuing.The speed data matches videos that appear to show the jet descending at a sharp angle shortly before impact, indicating it hit the ground hard.
Experts in the field of aviation are baffled by the happenings.
“It’s difficult to get the aeroplane to do this,” said John Cox, an aviation safety expert and former Boeing 737 pilot.
The investigation will aim to figure out why the plane took such a sharp and violent descent, which sets it distinct from previous crashes.
Aviation specialists will assess meteorological conditions and check wreckage for any signs of suspected failure, among other things.
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