Black box from crashed Chinese airliner discovered

A China Eastern airline jet is partially blurred by the heated air emitted from another jet at Hongqiao Airport in Shanghai, China
Associated Press/Alexander F. Yuan

Searchers have recovered one of the two black boxes from the China Eastern Airlines flight that crashed on Monday killing everyone aboard.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said in a new briefing Wednesday the box had been severely damaged and it was unclear if it was the flight data recorder or the cockpit voice recorder, Reuters reported.

“We found a black box on the scene but this black box has been severely damaged on the outside, so the investigation team on the front-line is still ascertaining whether it is the flight data recorder or the cockpit voice recorder,” said Mao Yanfeng, head of investigations at the CAAC.

The Boeing 737-800 was flying from the city of Kunming to Guangdong when it suddenly descended, dropping about 31,000 feet per minute from cruising altitude early on Monday morning. The plane is believed to have mostly disintegrated upon impact. No survivors have been found.

Rainy conditions have impacted search efforts in the mountainous terrain where the plane crashed. Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered “all-out rescue efforts.”

Reuters noted the plane had met airworthiness standards before liftoff and there were three pilots — one more than usual — on board, all believed to have been in good health with sufficient flight experience.

“The cause of the plane crash is still under investigation, and the company will actively cooperate with relevant investigations,” China Eastern Airlines said following the crash. “The company expresses its deep condolences to the passengers and crew members who died in the plane crash.”


Tags airplane crash Aviation safety China

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