Investigators say one of the two black boxes from the China Eastern plane that crashed on Monday has been found in a severely damaged condition.
The recorder was so damaged they couldn’t tell if it was the flight data recorder or the cockpit voice recorder.
Flight MU5735, a Boeing 737-800 carrying 132 passengers and crew, was traveling from Kunming to Guangzhou when it plunged from altitude and crashed into a mountain in Guangxi.
No survivors have been found so far.
Mao Yanfeng, director of the accident investigation department of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, told a news conference that a full-fledged effort was being made to find the black box.
Heavy rains have stalled the search so far, and rainwater has filled the crater in soft soil from the impact of the impact, state television reported.
Previously, searchers used hand-held tools, drones and sniffer dogs in rainy conditions to scour wooded mountain slopes for flight data and cockpit voice recorders. , as well as any human remains.
The local weather agency in the Guangxi region said there was a risk of landslides, tornadoes and high winds as conditions deteriorated in the area.
Video clips published by Chinese state media showed small pieces of the plane scattered over the area.
Wallets, banks and ID cards that were contaminated with mud were also recovered. Each shard has a number next to it, larger fragments are marked with police tape.
Relatives of the passengers began arriving at the entrance to Lu village just outside the crash site on Wednesday, where they, along with reporters at the scene, were used by police and officials to open umbrellas. block the view to the outside.
A woman, who said she has two children, sent an emotional appeal to local officials asking to enter the area where the plane that killed her husband had crashed.
A 57-year-old man, who gave only his last name Ding, said his sister-in-law was on the plane.
“Suddenly my heart sank,” he said when he learned of the plane crash.
What caused the accident?
Investigators say it’s too early to speculate on the cause of the crash. The plane dived mid-flight and stopped transmitting data 96 seconds after the crash.
FlightRadar24 data shows the plane descending at 31,000 feet per minute – the height of a 50-story building
An aviation safety official said an air traffic controller tried to contact the pilots after seeing the steep drop in altitude, but received no response.
Another official said the jet had met airworthiness standards before take-off and that the crew members were all in good health.
The plane had three pilots on the final flight, more than one was required on the 737.
China’s aviation safety record
China has made great strides in improving aviation safety standards over the past two decades, and Monday’s disaster was
First major crash in ten years.
Having rushed to Guangxi to oversee emergency operations, Vice Premier Liu He held a meeting on Tuesday in
which officials have been urged to “do their best to search as long as there is a glimmer of hope”.
The disaster prompted the aviation regulator to launch a two-week inspection of the sector that will involve inspections at the airport.
all regional air traffic control bureaus, airline companies and flight training academies to ensure “absolute” safety.
Since the crash, China Eastern and its two subsidiaries have grounded their fleet of more than 200 Boeing 737-800s.