Searchers have found the second of two flight recorders from a passenger plane that suddenly crashed into the earth in southern China, killing 132 people, officials said today. Sunday, almost a week after the disaster.
The flight recorder, which collects vital information, including pilot communications and data about the aircraft’s engines and performance, can help explain why China Eastern Airlines Flight 5735 lost more than 20,000 feet at an altitude of just over a minute before crashing down a hillside in the Guangxi region. Chinese authorities confirmed on Saturday that all but certain: none of the people on board The Boeing 737 survived.
ONE China’s state broadcaster short news said a second tape recorder had been found, according to the commander of the search effort.
The report said: “Experts confirm that this is the second black box. Despite being called a “black box”, flight recorders are usually light in color. The report says that any other details will be announced in a press conference later on Sunday.
Aviation officials and experts have warned that both recorders could be severely damaged as a result of the crash, which would make it more difficult to retrieve their data. Search teams are also trying to recover debris from the plane, which could take weeks, if not longer.
In recent days, workers have recovered parts of the plane’s engines, wings and main landing gear, along with other debris. Officials say they have identified the plane’s main impact point and that most of the debris is concentrated within a radius of 30 yards and a depth of about 20 feet below ground. But search teams also found a 4-foot-long piece of debris, possibly from the plane, more than six miles from the main problem site.
Restoring structural parts could help investigators determine how the plane broke down using metallurgical analysis, said Mike Daniel, a industry consultant and former Federal Aviation Administration crash investigator, said in an interview. “They should put together as many parts as possible to try to reconstruct the plane,” he said, though he admits this would be “nearly impossible” given the impact the plane had on the ground.
Search teams on Wednesday found what officials say may have been from the plane cockpit voice recorder and send it to Beijing for analysis. Another flight recorder, presumably the one announced on Sunday’s recovery, is used to store information about the aircraft’s movements and mechanical performance.
“We cannot rule out the possibility that the storage unit was damaged,” said Zhu Tao, a safety official with the Civil Aviation Administration of China. told reporters when the first tape recorder was found.
For days, hundreds of searchers in the isolated hills of Teng County in Guangxi did not seem to give up their search for survivors, although their chances of finding anyone still seemed to be slim. minute. Heavy rains have flooded the area, increasing the risk of landslides. Workers used pumps to drain the arid soil.
Television footage live from the area on Friday showed workers wearing surgical masks and white personal protective suits as they scour the steep, muddy terrain.
On Friday, several Chinese media outlets mistakenly reported that searchers had found a second flight recorder. Xinhua, the official news agency, later said that was untrue. Search teams have found orange debris that may have come from the tape recorder and they are scanning every inch of the ground for the recorder, in Chinese TV news coverage.
The Chinese government views disasters like the Flight 5735 crash as a potential source of public anger towards officials, and the government has been quick to control the messaging surrounding the crash. State media have highlighted statements of concern by China’s top leaders and the rapid mobilization of hundreds of firefighters, paramilitary troops and other workers to join the search.
In previous disasters, such as 2011 high-speed rail accident, survivors and family members of the victims gathered to protest the government and demand information and problem solving. This time, however, the relatives of those on board were wrapped in security and official surveillance and largely kept away from reporters.
Liu Yi, Joy Dong, Claire Fu and Li You research contributions.