Flight data suggests the China Eastern plane crash that killed 132 people in March was caused by an "intentional" act in the cockpit.
U.S. officials say they've taken a first pass at data from the crashed flight's black box, and it suggests that the controls were deliberately adjusted to put the flight into a steep dive before the crash, reported the Wall Street Journal.
The Boeing 737-800 flight was flying from Kunming to Guangzhou, a city near Hong Kong, when it crashed in the mountains of Guangxi on March 21, killing all on board. There were 129 passengers and nine crew on the flight.
Disturbing video recorded of the flight shows it went into a near-vertical nose dive just before it hit the ground.
U.S. officials told ABC News that in addition to the nearly vertical drop, the plane's flaps were not engaged and the landing gear was also not pulled down, suggesting it could only have been done through intentional force.
"The plane did what it was told to do by someone in the cockpit," said an individual familiar with the preliminary assessment conducted by American officials.
Investigators looked into the personal lives of the pilots that were flying the plane and found that one of them may have been struggling with problems before the crash.
China Eastern Airlines provided a statement to the Wall Street Journal, which said they had looked into the three pilots and confirmed that they were all qualified and were healthy with stable family lives.
The statement also confirmed that they were all financially stable and not struggling.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said that regulators and Boeing, in addition to Chinese investigators, have not flagged any mechanical issues with the plane.
China Eastern was asked about the possibility of someone breaking into the cockpit and causing the crash, but the airline rejected that idea, saying that no emergency code was sent before the crash.
The last intentional mass-casualty crash was in 2015, when a co-pilot on Germanwings Flight 9525 crashed it into the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board.
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.