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The black box of the second plane crash in China eludes searchers

WUZHOU, China — Five days after a passenger plane crashed in China’s mountainous south, the cause of the disaster remains a mystery while the search for the plane’s second “black box” continued on Friday.

Hundreds of people, many in white hazmat suits, combed the impact zone and a much larger debris field along steep slopes. They searched for a box containing the flight data recorder, wreckage and the belongings and body parts of the 132 on board that perished in the crash.

Persistent rain frustrated the task and the remote location required the use of dogs and hand tools, including metal detectors that are more commonly seen at airports.

Wallets, identity and bank cards, and human remains were found along with several large pieces of the wings and fuselage.

The China Eastern Boeing 737-800 left a 65-foot hole in its wake when it fell from the sky Monday, and workers have been pumping out rainwater to help the search.

Search and rescue workers search for the black box near the debris at the China Eastern Flight crash site in Tengxian County.
Search and rescue workers search for the black box near the debris at the China Eastern Flight crash site in Tengxian County.
AP
Search and rescue workers line up along a command center near the China Eastern crash site.
Search and rescue workers line up along a command center near the China Eastern crash site.
AP

The US National Transportation Safety Board said talks are underway with China about sending an expert to take part in the investigation, as is usual when the planes involved are from American manufacturers.

“Travel to China is currently restricted by visa and COVID quarantine requirements. We are working with the State Department to resolve these issues with the Chinese government before deciding on travel,” NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said in a statement.

China Eastern, one of China’s four major airlines, said Thursday that the Shanghai-based carrier and its subsidiaries are grounding a total of 223 Boeing 737-800 planes while they investigate possible safety risks.

China Eastern previously said the grounding was a precautionary measure, not a sign something was wrong. The airline said the crashed plane was in good condition and its flight crew were experienced and in good health.

The crashed plane was flying from Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province in mountainous southwest China, to Guangzhou, a major city and export manufacturing hub in the southeast. According to authorities, there were no foreign passengers on board.

Rescue workers are using dogs to conduct the search for the black box near the debris at the China Eastern plane crash site.
Rescue workers are using dogs to conduct the search for the black box near the debris at the China Eastern plane crash site.
AP
Rescue workers spread out to find the black box at the China Eastern crash site.
Rescue workers spread out to find the black box at the China Eastern crash site.
ZUMA24.com

Investigators said it was too early to discuss possible causes. An air traffic controller tried several times to contact the pilots after seeing the plane’s altitude drop sharply, but received no response, officials said.

Flight MU5735 was flying at 29,000 feet when it crashed and started a fire seen on NASA satellite imagery.

The ‘black boxes’, usually painted orange so they can be easily found, are believed to be the key to finding out what caused the crash. They are usually stored in the tail section of the aircraft where they are most likely to survive a crash.

The first flight recorder was found relatively close to the impact zone, its outer casing badly damaged but the inner unit mostly intact, according to investigators.

Cockpit voice recorders can capture voices, audio alerts and background noise from the engine or switches being moved. The flight data recorder stores information about speed, altitude and direction, as well as pilot actions and performance of key systems.

https://nypost.com/2022/03/25/china-finds-second-black-box-from-china-eastern-jet-state-media/ The black box of the second plane crash in China eludes searchers

JACLYN DIAZ

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