China plane crash: Cockpit voice recorder scanned for clues as first victims found | China

The cockpit voice recorder of a plane that crashed into a Chinese mountainside with 132 people on board is being analyzed in Beijing as the recovery mission confirms it found human remains on the site.

The China Eastern Airlines flight crashed on Monday afternoon, after plunging more than 6,000m (20,000ft). The cause of the crash is not known and investigators said it may be difficult to determine given the circumstances. The plane crashed with such force that much of it disintegrated on impact, and the recovered black box was “severely damaged”. A second black box, which records flight data, has yet to be found.

Zhu Tao, an official with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), said the recovered recorder’s storage units were damaged but “relatively complete” and had been sent to an institute in Beijing for decoding. .

Rescuers search for black boxes at the site of a plane crash in Tengxian County. Photo: Zhou Hua/AP

More than 300 rescue workers are still at the crash site in a remote area near Wuzhou, Teng County, Guangxi Province. Work was briefly suspended on Wednesday due to bad weather, but an evening briefing revealed human remains had been located.

Some details about the passengers have started to appear in Chinese state media. Writing in China Youth Daily, a man who went by the pseudonym Wang Baiyang said his 26-year-old sister, her husband and their 18-month-old daughter were on board and it was their first flight. They were traveling to Guangzhou for medical treatment for the child and had originally been scheduled on an earlier flight, but this was cancelled.

Smoke rises from airliner crash in China – video report
Smoke rises from airliner crash in China – video report

“For the past two days I’ve felt like I’m dreaming and I always felt like when I woke up the next day my sister would call me,” he said. “I didn’t think it was real at all, first my grandfather died, then I heard the news of the theft, and I just froze there and tried to reach my sister by telephone.”

Wang said her sister, Gu Hanyu, sent the family a pre-flight video of her daughter jumping around the living room, playing with her mask and laughing. Gu was born deaf, he said, and met her husband Guo Zengqiang on a blind date. They married in February 2020 in a simple ceremony.

“Who would have thought that just after finding a doctor who can cure the child’s disease, this disease would not need to be treated,” Wang said. “Flights that save lives become lethal flights. It was their first and last flight.

A pensioner named Zhang, from Shenzhen, traveled to the crash site earlier and told Reuters his nephew was on board.

“I hope the country can thoroughly investigate this matter and find out whether it was the fault of the manufacturer or whether it was a maintenance issue,” Zhang said, his eyes filling with tears.

Grieving relatives arrive at the site.
Grieving relatives arrive at the site. Photography: Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images

The search for the second flight recorder is continuing, with investigators hoping the information could explain why the plane, which had passed security checks before takeoff, crashed during the cruise phase of the flight.

The plane was a six-year-old Boeing 737-89P, according to flight data trackers. Boeing 737-800s are among the world’s most common passenger planes, and different from the 737 Max, which was grounded worldwide after two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019.

In an apparent response to speculation that the accident could be due to the pilot’s activity, Sun Shiying, president of the airline’s Yunnan subsidiary, told reporters on Wednesday that the three pilots on board were in good health and “performed well and maintained harmonious relationships with their families.” ”.

The investigation into China’s worst air disaster in more than a decade is being led by local authorities, but US investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) have been asked to help because the plane was made in the States -United. However, he has yet to confirm whether these investigators can travel to China due to visa and quarantine requirements.

“We are working with the State Department to resolve these issues with the Chinese government before any travel is determined,” the NTSB said.

Additional reports from Xiaoqian Zhu and agencies

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