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American investigators confirmed to the Civil Aviation Administration of China that they released no information to reporters, the government newspaper Global Times reported. Phone calls to CAAC weren’t answered.

WARNING: Images below may disturb some readers

Search and rescue workers search through debris at the China Eastern flight crash site in Tengxian County in southern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on March 24, 2022.
Search and rescue workers search through debris at the China Eastern flight crash site in Tengxian County in southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on March 24, 2022. (Lu Boan/Xinhua via AP, File)
The second orange-colored "black box" recorder recovered at the China Eastern flight crash site in Tengxian County on March 27, 2022, in southern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
The second orange-colored “black box” recorder recovered at the China Eastern flight crash site in Tengxian County on March 27, 2022, in southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. (Lu Boan/Xinhua via AP, File)

A foreign ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, referred reporters to the Global Times report in response to requests for information about the investigation.

All 123 passengers and nine crew members were killed on March 21 when the plane dived from about 8,800 metres while flying from Kunming in China’s southwest to Guangzhou near Hong Kong. Debris was scattered across a mountainous area.

The Journal, citing people familiar with US officials’ preliminary assessment, said the data recorder suggests inputs to the controls pushed the plane into the fatal dive.

The China Eastern Boeing 737-800 was filmed plummeting to earth in a near-vertical nose dive.
The China Eastern Boeing 737-800 was filmed plummeting to earth in a near-vertical nose dive. (Supplied)
The China Eastern crash set off a forest fire, which was visible from space.
The China Eastern crash set off a forest fire, which was visible from space. (Supplied)

It said American investigators were looking at the actions of a pilot and there also was a possibility someone else could have broken into the cockpit and caused the crash.

A seven-member team from the US National Transportation Safety Board arrived in China on April 2 to help with the investigation of the US-manufactured aircraft.

Its flight data recorder was being analysed at a laboratory in Washington.

The 737-800 has one of the aviation industry’s best safety records. China’s airline industry, one of the world’s biggest, has had relatively few mishaps in recent years.

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