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Second black box found in China Eastern plane crash

Second black box found in China Eastern plane crash

In this photo released by Xinhua, rescuers carry a piece of plane wreckage at the site of the China Eastern plane crash in Tengxian County, Guangxi, on Mar 25, 2022. (File photo: AP/Zhou Hua, Xinhua)

BEIJING: The second “black box” has been recovered from the crash of a China Eastern Boeing 737-800 that killed 132 people last week, Chinese state media said on Sunday (Mar 27).

"The second black box from China Eastern flight MU5735 was recovered on March 27," Xinhua News Agency reported.

The plane was equipped with two flight recorders: One in the rear passenger cabin tracking flight data, and the other a cockpit voice recorder.

The second black box - the flight data recorder - was dug out of a slope at the crash site at about 9.20am local time (0120 GMT) in muddy conditions after rain in recent days, according to state media. It contains information such as speed, altitude and heading.

The device was reportedly recovered 40m from the point of impact of the crash and 1.5m beneath the surface of the ground.

It has been sent to Beijing for checks, state media added.

"Civil aviation investigators at the site confirmed that the storage unit of the flight data recorder has been found," Zhu Tao, head of aviation safety at the Civil Aviation Administration of China, told a news conference in Guangxi.

"Parts of the recorder were seriously damaged, but the outside of the storage unit was in fairly good condition."

Searchers had been looking for the flight data recorder after finding the cockpit voice recorder on Wednesday.

The latter had already been sent to Beijing for analysis, which is expected to take several more days.

The two recorders should help investigators determine what caused the plane to plummet from the sky and into a forested mountainside in southern China.

State broadcaster CCTV and the official Xinhua News Agency reported the discovery of the flight data recorder, citing officials.

Flight MU5735 crashed on Monday as it was heading from the city of Kunming in south-eastern China to Guangzhou, a major city and export manufacturing hub near Hong Kong.

The Chinese Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC) said on Saturday evening that all of the people on board the aircraft had died, and that it had confirmed almost all of their identities through DNA testing.

All 123 passengers and nine crew members were Chinese nationals.

Hundreds of people, including firefighters, doctors and investigators, remain at the scene of the tragedy recovering human remains and the wreckage of the plane.

RUMOURS

According to flight tracking website FlightRadar24, the plane briefly appeared to pull out of its nosedive before resuming its plunge to earth.

FlightRadar24 data showed the aircraft was plummeting at a rate of 31,000 feet per minute.

Authorities said the pilots did not respond to repeated calls from air traffic controllers and nearby planes during the rapid descent.

The tragedy has shocked the nation and sent its social media into an overdrive as netizens parsed what little was known for clues.

China's cyberspace watchdog has ordered Internet platforms and websites to clamp down on netizens spreading rumours and conspiracy theories, and any online mockery of the disaster.

Since the crash, authorities have banned users and closed accounts to deal with more than 167,000 rumours, ranging from the deaths of seven directors of a company to divine prophesies of a plane crash by the end of March.

It was too soon to determine the cause of the crash, and crashes are usually the result of a combination of factors, experts say.

China is leading the crash investigation. The United States has also been invited to take part, as the Boeing 737-800 was designed and manufactured there.

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said it was working with the US and Chinese authorities to resolve visa and COVID-19 quarantine issues before participating.

Source: Agencies/kg
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