Investigators searching for clues into the crash of China Eastern flight MU 5735 will look at any damage and subsequent repairs performed on the rear bulkhead as a possible cause.
The recovery of the cockpit voice recorder is a major breakthrough and the search for the flight data recorder continues.
Whatever happen aboard China Eastern flight MU5735 was catastrophic and sudden.
One possibility is that this 737 may have previously been involved in a tail strike incident on landing or take-off and the damage done to the rear pressure bulkhead was not noticed or not repaired properly causing it to fail, damaging the tail.
The rear pressure bulkhead (below) is behind the rear galleys on the 737 and combined with the forward pressure bulkhead at the front of the cockpit seals the pressurised cabin.
The most tragic case of a rear pressure bulkhead failure was the loss of a Japan Air Lines domestic 747 in 1985 with the loss of 520 of the 524 aboard. A faulty repair of the aft pressure bulkhead, after a 1978 tail strike incident at Osaka Airport, finally failed, blowing the tail off shortly after take-off from Tokyo.
Video of the China Eastern 737 just before impact appears to show that the vertical tail is missing.
Mudding the waters is the proliferation of fake images on the internet purporting to be the China Eastern 737 in its dive.
Crash investigators from China, the US and France will be involved in the investigation which may take months to resolve what conspired to end 132 lives.
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