Disasters & Accidents

Second black box from China Eastern plane crash found: state media

(Update 1: Adds new information throughout, minor edits, changes lede and headline)

Beijing, Mar 27 (EFE).- Rescue teams have found the second black box from the China Eastern plane that crashed in the south of the country last week with 132 people on board, state news outlets reported Sunday.

Xinhua cited the national emergency response headquarters for the accident as saying that the black box had been found, while CGTN posted a video to Twitter of what it said was the box’s recovery site amid mud and debris.

This black box, which records technical information such as the plane’s speed, altitude and engine power before it crashed, could shed light on why the Boeing 737-800, flying between the cities of Kunming and Guangzhou, plunged to the ground in Guangxi region on Monday, killing all on board.

On Friday a media outlet linked to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CACC) reported the discovery of the second black box, but retracted the news a few hours later.

The other black box that records the voices in the cockpit was located on Wednesday and sent to Beijing for inspection.

Following the discovery of the first, CACC Security Director Zhu Tao said an initial inspection showed that the exterior of the receiver and the memory unit were damaged, but remained intact.

There were no survivors from crash, local authorities announced late Saturday night, according to Xinhua.

“It is with great sadness that we are here to announce that the 123 passengers and nine crew members on board China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5735 on March 21 have all died,” Hu Zhenjiang, deputy head of the CAAC, told a news conference after six days of extensive searches.

From analysis of videos, data collected by air control radars and the distribution of debris and remains at the scene of the incident, it was possible to determine that there are no signs of life in the area, Hu said.

The identities of 120 victims have so far been confirmed through DNA testing, he added.

After studying 41 samples taken from the crash site, authorities have not found any remains of explosive components, reported Xinhua.

Efforts will now focus on searching for the remains of the victims and the plane to provide a basis for an investigation, Hu said.

“Our hearts are heavy,” a firefighter involved in the rescue told Xinhua. “We have been searching the place where the plane crashed and the surrounding hilly areas for days, expecting a miracle.”

Rescue teams have covered an area of more than 40,000 square meters, in which they have found human remains and parts of the plane, including one of its engines.

The heavy impact of the crash has made search tasks difficult, with pieces of the plane found up to 10 kilometers from the crash site, according to local media.

Steep terrain and heavy rainfall have also hampered the work of rescuers, who face the danger of landslides.

The plane departed Kunming at 1.15 pm local time (05:15 GMT) on Monday for Guangzhou, before plunging to the ground in Guangxi region at 2.38 pm.

It dropped almost 8,000 meters in just three minutes, according to FlightRadar24.

The plane, which had been in service for almost seven years, had passed all the revisions established by regulations and its technical condition was stable and normal during takeoff, according to statements by a representative of China Eastern quoted by local media.

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