Beijing, China, Mar 24 (EFE).- Rescue teams in the southern Chinese region of Guangxi, where a Boeing 737-800 with 132 people on board crashed Monday, found human remains and what appeared to be a plane engine, state agency CGTN reported Thursday.
Rescue services have covered an area of about 46,000 square meters during the search and rescue work and no signs of survivors have been found.
The finding of the engine adds to the Wednesday discovery of one of the plane’s black boxes, specifically the cockpit voice recorder, which was sent to Beijing for inspection.
“An initial inspection shows the exterior of the receiver is severely damaged. The memory unit also suffered some damage, but it has remained intact,” Zhu Tao, security chief of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said Wednesday night.
Downloading and analyzing the data recorded in the black box “will take time,” Zhao said adding that the device “will provide important information about the cause of the accident.”
“Air traffic controllers tried to contact the crew numerous times, but received no response,” Zhu said, adding that authorities “still do not have a clear clue as to what happened” and that “they are thoroughly investigating various factors such as the weather, air traffic control and maintenance and the design and manufacture of the aircraft.”
According to flight tracking portal FlightRadar24, the plane, operated by the China Eastern airline, fell almost 8,000 meters in less than three minutes before crashing into a remote mountainous area, whose orography has made rescue work difficult.
Weather conditions also hampered the search, to the point that it had to be temporarily suspended Wednesday due to rain and “risk of small landslides,” according to state television CCTV.
The passage of time and the violence of the impact of the plane – which, according to some witnesses, “plunged” from the sky – decreases the hopes of finding survivors.
The airline contacted relatives of the 123 people on board in the hours after the incident and, according to local media, many have gone to the town of Wuzhou, near the site of the impact, while the search continues. EFE