The China Eastern airliner that nosedived into a mountainside killing 132 was deliberately forced off track by the pilot or an intruder, American officials insist.
The two "black box" recorders taken from the aircraft, both of which received damage in the crash, show that human action caused the Boeing 737 to drive towards the eventual crash site, near the city of Wuzhou.
The trajectory of the aircraft prior to the crash, which was almost vertical, can only be put down to the murderous or suicidal intentions of the person operating it, according to US analysis as reported in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
Rescue workers work at the site where a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane flying from Kunming to Guangzhou crashed CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS
Rescue workers work at the site CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINS
"The plane did what it was told to do by someone in the cockpit," one expert told the WSJ.
Although US officials are certain the crash was caused by human error, it is unclear whether or not the plane was flown into the Chinese mountains by the pilot or another actor.
This would not be the first instance of a pilot deliberately crashing an aircraft in recent years.
In March 2015 the Airbus A320, on a scheduled flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, was deliberately crashed in 2015 by co-pilot Andreas Lubitz 60 miles north of Nice in the French Alps.
All 144 passengers and six crew members were killed.
The China Eastern flight which crashed into the Wuzhou mountains plunged 21,000ft in little over 60 seconds.
There was no attempt made by the crew to radio the emergency, nor was the emergency code transmitted.
Less than four weeks following the crash, Chinese authorities authorised all Boeing 737-800 aircraft to recommence flying.
As reported in The Times, the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said it was investigating the incident, which includes analysing the wreckage.