Jet China Eastern Airlines Corp. was flying in the usual route to Guangzhou when it suddenly overturned at cruise height and pigeons.
That’s what is known for certain about the extraordinary crash that is feared to have killed all 132 people on board the plane on Monday in the worst commercial flight crash in China in more than a decade.
While there have been a handful of accidents in which an airplane plunged from cruising height, few, if any, fit Boeing Co.’s extreme profile. 737-800 as it headed steeply toward the ground, according to veteran crash investigators and previous crash reports.
“It’s an odd profile,” said John Cox, an aviation safety consultant and former 737 pilot. “It’s hard to get an airplane to do this.”
As investigators locate two aircraft crash -proof recorders and begin examining clues, they will try to determine why the jet made a sudden and severe dive, which distinguished it from previous crashes.
They will see the weather the aircraft encountered, whether the pilot made any emergency calls, any indications of possible debris damage and a detailed profile of the crew.