A black box that could solve the mystery of the Boeing 737 crash in China was found today.
Mao Yanfeng, director of China’s Civil Aviation Administration’s Accident Investigation Department, said efforts are underway to find the other black box in the debris strewn across the mountainside.
Locating the flight recorders will be key to finding out what caused the China Eastern Airlines passenger jet to suddenly nosedive into a mountain in southern China on Monday.
However, the black box found on Wednesday is so damaged that investigators cannot tell whether it is the flight data recorder or the cockpit voice recorder, authorities said.
Investigators had previously used hand tools, drones and sniffer dogs in rainy conditions to comb the densely forested slopes for the two black boxes and human remains.
Crews were also pumping water out of the pit created when the plane hit the ground – but work was suspended in the morning because of the risk of landslides.
Horrific footage showed the final seconds of the Boeing 737 jet after it plummeted 100 feet in about a minute and a half.
The passenger jet crashed in Guangxi on Monday, state media said.
It was en route from Kunming to Guangzhou and was carrying nine crew members and 123 passengers.
CCTV broadcaster said the six-year-old 737 came down near the city of Wuzhou, sparking wildfire on the mountain.
Rescuers rushed to the scene and found debris scattered over a large area with no evidence of any survivors.
Harrowing images show large parts of the jet strewn on the ground while a fire can be seen in the background.
The China Eastern flight took off at 1:11 p.m. (0511 GMT), FlightRadar24 data showed, and should have landed at 3:05 p.m. (0705 GMT).
According to flight tracking, the descent began between 06:20:43 and 06:20:59 from an altitude of 30,000 feet.
The plane is understood to have then descended to just 7,400ft in minutes before pulling up – and climbing 1,200ft.
Then it fell and hit the ground.
Experts are baffled by the crash.
Crashes during the cruise phase are relatively rare, although they account for most of the flight time.
“Normally, during the travel phase, the aircraft is on autopilot. So it’s very difficult to understand what happened,” said Li Xiaojin, a Chinese aviation expert.
They added: “Technically, something like this shouldn’t have happened.”
Aviation expert Arthur Rowe said: “It looks most likely a loss of control event, possibly a high altitude aircraft stall.
“There are several possible causes. This includes jammed or non-responsive rudders, especially at the stern.
“An inappropriate combination of autopilot settings is another.
“Sabotage – that’s probably unlikely on a Chinese domestic flight given the Covid restrictions on entry into the country.
“It’s unlikely to be engine related as aircraft without engine power can fly perfectly – for a limited time.”
Nottingham University engineering professor Tao Yang said: “The plane was completely out of control and at this point it’s very difficult to tell what happened.”
The plane stopped transmitting data southwest of the Chinese city of Wuzhou.
A villager named Liu told the state-run China News Service that he rode a motorcycle to the scene after hearing a loud explosion.
He said he saw debris on the ground, including an airplane wing and items of clothing hanging from trees.
China Eastern Airlines’ website was later presented in black and white, which is what airlines do in response to a crash as a show of respect for the alleged victims.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said he was “shocked” by the crash and called for an investigation into the accident, state media reported.
“We are shocked to learn of the accident in China Eastern MU5735,” he said, while also calling for “every effort” for rescue and to find out the “cause of the accident as soon as possible,” according to broadcaster CCTV.
The aircraft was delivered to China Eastern by Boeing in June 2015 and has been flying for over six years.
The 737-800 that crashed Monday has a good safety record and is the predecessor of the 737 MAX, which has been grounded in China for more than three years deadly accidents 2018 in Indonesia and 2019 in Ethiopia, killing 346 people.
The Boeing 737 Max Commercial service resumed back in 2020 after a 20-month safety ban was lifted following the crashes.
China’s aviation industry’s safety record has been among the best in the world over the past decade.
According to the Aviation Safety Network, China’s last fatal jet accident occurred in 2010, when 44 of 96 people on board died when an Embraer E-190 regional jet flown by Henan Airlines crashed on approach to Yichun Airport in poor visibility.
In 1994, a China Northwest Airlines Tupolev Tu-154 flying from Xian to Guangzhou was destroyed in a post-takeoff accident, killing all 160 people on board and considered China’s worst-ever air disaster, according to the Aviation Safety Network .
https://www.the-sun.com/news/4956382/china-eastern-airlines-crash-black-box-found/ A black box that could solve the mystery of the Boeing 737 crash in China has been found under plane wreckage