Du progress in the investigation into the Boeing 737-800 crashed in China with 132 people on board. A first black box, badly damaged, was found on Wednesday March 23. The China Eastern Airlines domestic flight MU5735 broke up on a wooded hill in Wuzhou (south) on Monday while connecting the cities of Kunming (southwest) and Guangzhou (south).
No survivors have been found so far and hopes are dim as the aircraft crashed almost vertically before igniting. An airliner has two flight recorders: one that allows investigators to hear conversations in the cockpit, and the other to study vital information, such as speed, altitude and heading. Hundreds of firefighters, soldiers, doctors, volunteers and local politicians remain mobilized to find traces of the passengers, their personal effects and the second black box.
A smell of kerosene on the premises
The search was halted on Wednesday due to heavy rainfall that waterlogged the disaster site, making it muddy and dangerous for rescuers. “Small landslides could occur,” said a reporter for public television CCTV, who said he still smelled “a smell of kerosene” at the scene, two days after the disaster. “There is a huge pit at the point of impact of the plane. Water has accumulated there and drainage works will certainly be necessary,” he said.
CCTV broadcast images of the white debris of the device scattered on the brown-ocher ground, but also of wallets, identity cards, clothing or camera lenses. The possible confirmation of the death of the 132 passengers, including nine crew members, would make it the worst plane crash since 1994 in China, where air safety is considered very good by experts. All the people on board were of Chinese nationality. The reasons for the tragedy remain unknown for the time being.
The device was not old
According to data from the specialized site Flightradar, the plane suddenly dived towards the ground before crashing. A behavior considered unusual by the experts. “When the air traffic controller noticed the plane’s sharp drop in altitude, he immediately contacted the crew several times, but got no response,” said Zhu Tao, director of aviation safety at the CAAC. The device was not old: in service in China since 2015, it had already performed nearly 9,000 flights in more than 18,000 hours. According to China Eastern, it had met all airworthiness requirements.