The Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) has issued a brief statement stating that the investigation into the fatal crash of a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 is still underway.

The statement, published only in Mandarin, comes one year after the crash of MU5735 on the Kunming-Guangzhou route, which killed 123 passengers and nine crew.

China Eastern 737 wreckage

Source: Xinhua/Shutterstock

The 21 March 2022 crash killed 132 passengers and crew

The CAAC claims to have conducted a “meticulous and rigorous technical investigation” into the crash, including inspecting the wreckage, interviews, reviewing maintenance records, and investigating those aboard the aircraft. It has also conducted flight simulations.

“Up to now, the technical investigation team has carried out a lot of work such as on-site investigation, data inspection, personnel interviews, and experimental analysis,” says CAAC.

“However, because the accident is very complicated and extremely rare, the investigation is still in-depth.”

It adds that an analysis of the crash will be produced in a “timely manner.”

ICAO rules call for a detailed report to be published one year after a crash, containing analysis into causes, as well as safety lessons for the broader aviation community.

The 21 March crash saw the aircraft registered B-1791 (MSN41474) plunge from 29,000ft to the ground near Wuzhou in China’s central Guangxi province. No distress call was received.

Both the cockpit voice and flight data recorders were retrieved and sent to the USA for analysis by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is assisting in the investigation.

In May, US government sources told the Wall Street Journal that the crash of the jet was intentional, citing data from the flight data recorder.

“The plane did what it was told to do by someone in the cockpit,” said an anonymous source quoted by the newspaper.

The CAAC, for its part, has dismissed the possibility of pilot suicide. FlightGlobal understands that the MU5735 pilot suicide theory is heavily censored on China’s Internet.

As for the NTSB, it defers to the CAAC, which is leading the investigation: “The NTSB continues to support the CAAC’s investigation in accordance with ICAO Annex 13, which stipulates that only the country leading the investigation will release information about it. As such, all information will be released by the lead investigative authority, which in this case is the CAAC.”