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Facts

- A Boeing 737 passenger plane crashed in Guangxi, South China at 2:21 pm on March 21.

- All 132 on board have been confirmed dead, including 123 passengers and nine crew members.

- Two black boxes have been recovered and sent to Beijing for decoding and analysis.

Location of the crash
09:15 2022-03-29
What we know so far about MU5735 crash
Rescuers search the site of a recent plane crash in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, March 28, 2022. Search work at the site of the recent plane crash in South China is continuing after the second black box was found on Sunday, an official said at a press briefing on Monday afternoon. [Photo/Xinhua]

- Xi, other leaders hold moment of silence for air crash victims (Read more)

- DNA matching completed for all air crash victims: Official (Read more)

- Two black boxes were sent to Beijing for decoding and analysis

- A total of 36,001 pieces of plane wreckage and parts have been recovered

- Search work at the site of the plane crash is continuing

Rescuers search the site of a recent plane crash in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, March 28, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

Rescue and search

- A total of 15,640 people had been sent to search the core site and surrounding areas, covering around 370,000 square meters

- Five drone search groups have also been added to aid the search, covering an area of around 9.55 million square meters.

- Rescuers have so far found no survivors (Read more)

- The main impact point where the jet crashed was identified (Read more)

- Plane's main parts were recovered in the core area (Read more)

Photo taken on March 27, 2022 shows the second black box recovered at the crash site of the China Eastern Airlines' plane in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo/Xinhua]

Black box

- Data unit on second flight recorder in good shape, officials say (Read more)

- The second black box of crashed flight MU5735 has been recovered (Read more)

- Downloading and decoding the data of the first black box would take time - official (Read more)

- Black box data downloading and analysis work underway: official (Read more)

- Recovered black box initially believed as cockpit voice recorder (Read more)

- One of the two black boxes has been recovered (Read more)

Photo taken on March 27, 2022 shows a memorial event at the crash site of the China Eastern Airlines plane to mourn the deaths of the 132 people involved in the accident in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo/Xinhua]

Key to accident

- No explosive component detected at China plane crash site (Read more)

- Weather normal during time of plane crash: Official (Read more)

- Pilots of crashed plane were healthy, experienced: China Eastern Airlines (Read more)

- The crashed plane has no history of repair to the "pickle fork", a part that attaches the plane's fuselage, or body, to the wing structure (Read more)

- The plane met maintenance requirements and airworthiness standards (Read more)

- When the plane was found to have drastically plunged at 2:20 pm on Monday, air traffic controllers made repeated calls to the crew, but received no response

Victims

- All 132 victims of China's plane crash identified (Read more)

- All 132 people on board China's crashed plane dead; people paid silent tribute for the victims at the press conference (Read more)

- Identity of 120 people onboard the crashed plane confirmed (Read more)

- Rescuers found 101 pieces of things belonging to victims (Read more)

- Searchers find debris, crew items, some remains in center of crash site (Read more)

- Some victims' remains were found (Read more)

Vice-Premier Liu He and State Councilor Wang Yong arrived in Wuzhou to guide rescue work on March 22, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

Authorities

- Leaders hold moment of silence for air crash victims (Read more)

- President urges all-out search and rescue efforts (Read more)

- China holds event to mourn plane crash victims on Sunday afternoon (Read more)

- Vice-Premier Liu He and State Councilor Wang Yong arrived in Wuzhou to guide rescue work, the settlement of the aftermath and investigation into the cause of the crash

- China to investigate any potential safety hazards in the civil aviation industry (Read more)

- The civil aviation industry has begun a two-week safety inspection (Read more)

- Ministry vows to curb safety hazards after plane crash (Read more)

Photo shows parts of a passenger plane crashed in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo/Xinhua]

Companies

- Compensation process launched for families of crash victims (Read more)

- Counseling provided to families of flight accident victims (Read more)

- Assistance prepared for investigation (Read more)

- China Eastern Airlines has grounded all of its Boeing 737-800 planes

- Boeing China said it is cooperating with China Eastern Airlines and will provide support

- China Eastern Airlines had established contact with relatives of all the passengers within 24 hours

- A total of 305 family members of 56 passengers have been accommodated in Wuzhou, Guangxi (Read more)

- China's major airlines have 1,400 Boeing 737-800NG planes, accounting for about 37% of total passenger planes

[File photo/VCG]

Information of MU5735

- A passenger plane with 132 aboard crashed in S China on Monday afternoon

- The flight was carrying 123 passengers and nine crew members, all Chinese nationals

- The 6.8-year-old Boeing 737-800NG was traveling from Kunming to Guangzhou

- The crash caused a mountain wildfire and no survivors have been found so far (Read more)

- The crash ended China's civil aviation safety record of more than 4,000 days (Read more)

06:50 2022-03-29
Xi mourns victims of plane crash

Moment of silence observed at meeting; DNA matching has been completed

President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders observed a moment of silence on Monday to mourn the victims of the China Eastern Airlines plane crash.

The moment of silence, proposed by Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, was observed at the start of a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee in Beijing.

Flight MU5735, with 132 people on board, crashed into a mountainous area in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on March 21. All people aboard were confirmed dead on Saturday.

After the crash, Xi immediately ordered the launch of an emergency response, all-out search and rescue efforts, and proper handling of the aftermath.

Rescuers and investigators announced on Monday that DNA matching for all 132 victims had been completed. Remains and belongings of the victims have been sent to the local funeral home, properly stored and classified, and will later be transferred.

After the crash, the Ministry of Public Security quickly drew up a work plan to identify the victims and established a special platform for DNA comparison, according to Liu Kaihui, an official with the Institute of Forensic Science of China of the ministry.

Public security officers in more than 20 provincial-level regions were involved in collecting the DNA samples of the victims and their family members, he said at a news conference in Wuzhou on Monday.

"Our institute also dispatched a team of 30 experts to the crash site, carrying out on-site investigations together with more than 200 forensic science workers in Guangxi," Liu said. In addition to DNA matching techniques, fingerprint experts have also compared the fingerprints taken at the scene to confirm the victims' identities.

Zhu Tao, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China's aviation safety office, said that as of Monday noon, the search and rescue team had canvassed an area of about 370,000 square meters in the core and neighboring areas of the crash site, and had collected 36,001 pieces of aircraft debris and other fragments.

Five drone teams were deployed to carry out search missions by taking photos on the margin of the core areas, searching an area of nearly 9.55 million square meters, he said.

Zheng Xi, head of the Guangxi Fire and Rescue Brigade, said the search and rescue team is now prioritizing the search for victims' belongings and aircraft debris, as both black boxes have been found.

As decoding and analysis work for the two black boxes is ongoing, other avenues for investigation are also progressing, Zhu said, adding that the investigation team is collecting evidence such as aircraft debris, accident-related video clips and witnesses's accounts.

To fully discover the truth, "it is insufficient to rely only on data from the black boxes in an air crash investigation", he said.

Shu Ping, director of the China Academy of Civil Aviation Science and Technology's Aviation Safety Institute, said the investigation of an airplane crash also involves information collected at the crash site and experimental verification. "Many objects at the crash site could be used to analyze the situation, such as the condition of the engine system," he told CAAC News.

Cao Yin contributed to this story.

07:06 2022-05-19
US denies leak on China Eastern crash
Photo taken on March 27, 2022 shows the second black box recovered at the crash site of the China Eastern Airlines' plane in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo/Xinhua]

The United States National Transportation Safety Board has confirmed with China's civil aviation authority that no investigation information regarding a crashed China Eastern Airline plane was provided to media, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said on Wednesday.

This was in response to recent news reports that claimed the flight data indicated someone in the cockpit intentionally crashed the jet. A report by The Wall Street Journal said the source was from people familiar with the US officials' preliminary assessment of the crash.

China's civil aviation administration quoted its US partner as saying that they strictly adhere to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, and will continue to provide professional technical support to identify the cause of the accident.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China, which is leading the investigation, said the investigation team is carrying out an in-depth investigation, including identification, classification and inspection of the wreckage, flight data analysis and experimental verification in accordance with investigation procedures.

According to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, the US National Transportation Safety Board-as the authority in the country of the aircraft's designer and manufacturer-has been invited to the investigation.

Flight MU5735 was bound from Kunming, Yunnan province, to Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on March 21 when it crashed in a mountainous region in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. All 132 people on board were killed.

The Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation said an initial report should be completed within 30 days of an accident. The preliminary report usually contains facts and does not include analysis of the cause of the accident or conclusions.

A preliminary investigation report released by the Civil Aviation Administration of China last month said the qualifications of the flight crew, cabin crew and maintenance and release personnel all met the requirements for their positions. The airworthiness certificate of the aircraft was valid. There was no fault report before departure of the flight on March 21.

No cargo on board was declared as dangerous goods and no abnormalities were discovered on devices along the routes, including navigation and surveillance equipment.

There was no dangerous weather forecast, and before the jet deviated from its cruise altitude, no abnormalities were discovered in radio communication or command between the crew and air traffic control.

The last normal call between traffic control and the crew was made at 2:16 pm.

The technology team will continue to investigate the cause of the accident, including in-depth wreckage identification, classification, flight data analysis and experimental verification, the report said.

14:40 2022-05-18
China continues in-depth investigation of Wuzhou aircraft crash
Photo taken on March 27, 2022 shows the second black box recovered at the crash site of the China Eastern Airlines' plane in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo/Xinhua]

The United States National Transportation Safety Board has confirmed with China's civil aviation authority, saying that no investigation information regarding a crashed Eastern China Airline was provided to media, the Civil Aviation Administration of China told Global Times on Wednesday.

It was in response to recent news reports that claimed flight data indicated someone in the cockpit intentionally crashed the jet. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the source was from people familiar with the US officials' preliminary assessment.

According to Global Times, China's civil aviation administration quoted its US partner as saying that they strictly adhere to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, and will continue to provide professional technical support to identify the cause of the accident.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China, which is leading the investigation, said the investigation team is carrying out an in-depth investigation, including identification, classification and inspection of wreckage, flight data analysis and experimental verification in accordance with the investigation procedures.

According to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board—as the country of the aircraft design and manufacturing—has been invited to the investigation.

Flight MU5735 was bound from Kunming, Yunnan province to Guangzhou, Guangdong province on March 21 when it crashed in a mountainous region in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, claiming the lives of all 132 people on board.

18:03 2022-04-21
More time needed to determine cause of air crash
A recovery team searches through the debris at the China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5735 crash site in Tengxian county, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo/Xinhua]

China's preliminary report into Flight MU5735 has been formed based on the present facts in line with international practice, an official from the Civil Aviation Administration of China told Xinhua News Agency.

"It is almost impossible to complete the analysis of the causes of a civil aviation accident within 30 days. Thus, the preliminary report does not involve the causes of the accident," said Li Yong, deputy director of the administration's safety office.

According to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, the country organizing the investigation is required to complete an initial report of a crash within 30 days and send it to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and countries participating in the investigation.

According to a guideline on the investigation of air crashes issued by the ICAO, the initial report can include information on flight history, casualties, crew, the flight recorder, maintenance and wreckage distribution.

The investigation of the cause of the crash of Flight MU5735 will continue, including in-depth wreckage identification, classification, flight data analysis and experimental verification, he added.

"From past experiences, the investigation of an aircraft accident usually takes a long time. Internationally, it usually takes more than two years to investigate the cause of an accident. It takes longer in regard to a more complicated accident investigation," he said.

For example, the cause of the crash of Air France Flight 447 — a passenger jet that crashed in the Atlantic Ocean after leaving Rio de Janeiro for Paris in 2009 claiming 228 lives — was released 3 years after the accident.

It also took nearly 2 years to release the cause for Chinese mainland's last major air crash which happened in Yichun, Heilongjiang province in 2010.

The administration released a preliminary investigation report on the crash of Flight MU5735 on Wednesday, 30 days after the tragedy.

The report includes information on flight history, crew, maintenance and wreckage distribution.

Flight MU5735 departed from Kunming, Yunnan province and was scheduled to arrive in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. It crashed on a mountain in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on March 21, claiming the lives of all 132 people on board.

Shu Ping, director of the China Academy of Civil Aviation Science and Technology's aviation safety institute, said the investigation for an air crash involves not only black boxes but also information collected at the crash site and experimental verification.

For example, he said, if at the crash site a tree branch was seen to be pulled inside the engine, investigators can determine that the engine was running before hitting the ground. But the flight data recorder would be needed to establish the speed of the engine.

"Many objects at the crash site could be used to analyze the situation, such as the condition of the engine system," he told CAAC News.

09:35 2022-04-21
Damaged black boxes being analyzed
A rescue team member holds the second black box of the MU5735, just recovered and believed to be the flight data recorder, on March 27, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

The two black boxes recovered from the wreckage of Flight MU5735 were severely damaged due to the impact of the crash, and the work of data repair and analysis is ongoing, according to a preliminary investigation released by the Civil Aviation Administration of China on Wednesday.

Flight MU5735 was bound from Kunming, Yunnan province to Guangzhou, Guangdong province on March 21 when it crashed in a mountainous region in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, claiming the lives of all 132 people on board.

According to the investigation, the qualifications of the flight crew, cabin crew and maintenance and release personnel all met the requirements. The airworthiness certificate of the aircraft was valid.

There was no fault report before departure of the flight on March 21.

No cargo declared as dangerous goods was on board, and no abnormalities were discovered on devices along the routes, including navigation and surveillance equipment.

No dangerous weather was forecast, and before the jet deviated from its cruise altitude, no abnormalities were discovered in radio communication or command between the crew and air traffic control.

The last normal call between traffic control and the crew was made at 2:16 pm.

The report said the jet departed from Kunming at 1:16 pm and reached its cruising altitude of 8,900 meters at 1:27 pm. It entered the air traffic control zone of Guangzhou at 2:17 pm. Radar in Guangzhou received a flight deviation warning at 2:20 pm.

The controller called the crew but received no response. The last radar information recorded for the jet was at 2:21 pm-with an altitude of 3,380 meters and speed of 1,010 kilometers per hour. The radar signal then disappeared.

The technology team will continue to investigate the cause of the accident, including in-depth wreckage identification, classification, flight data analysis and experimental verification, the report said.

When black boxes are recovered in fairly good condition, investigators can analyze and produce a report on their content within about three months. It requires data retrieval, decoding and analysis before producing a report. But it can take much longer when they are damaged, said Li Xiaojin, a professor from the Civil Aviation University of China in Tianjin.

According to information disclosed by the CAAC, the exterior of the flight recorder was seriously damaged and the storage units also had a certain degree of damage. But the device remained in relatively good shape.

"It takes time to decode the flight recorder. If the storage units were damaged, it may take longer. After decoding the device, it will provide strong evidence as to the cause of the accident," Zhu Tao, head of aviation safety for the CAAC, said at an earlier news conference.

19:53 2022-04-20
No abnormalities yet found in MU5735 probe
Photo taken on March 27, 2022 shows the second black box recovered at the crash site of the China Eastern Airlines' plane in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo/Xinhua]

China's civil aviation regulator found no abnormalities in the crashed flight MU5735 based on the present facts, according to a preliminary investigation report released by the Civil Aviation Administration of China on Wednesday.

The report includes information on flight history, crew, maintenance and wreckage distribution.

According to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, an initial report should be completed within 30 days of an accident. The preliminary report usually contains facts currently obtained and does not include analysis of the cause of the accident or conclusions.

Flight MU5735 departed from Kunming, Yunnan province and was scheduled to arrive in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. It crashed on a mountain in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on March 21, which claimed the lives of all 132 people on board.

According to the investigation, the qualifications of the flight crew, cabin crew and maintenance and release personnel all met requirements. The airworthiness certificate of the aircraft was valid.

The jet's latest A checks and C checks were carried out within maintenance windows.

There was no fault report before the departure of the flight on March 21.

No cargo was declared as dangerous goods on board. No abnormalities were discovered on devices along the routes, including navigation and surveillance equipment.

No dangerous weather was forecasted. Before the jet deviated from cruise altitude, no abnormalities were discovered in the radio communication or control command between the crew and air traffic control. The last normal call between land and crew was made at 2:16 pm.

The two recorders onboard were severely damaged due to the impact, and data restoration and analysis work is underway.

The report also depicted the flight's route before the crash. The jet departed from Kunming at 1:16 pm and reached 8,900 meters at the cruise altitude at 1:27 pm. It entered the air traffic control zone of Guangzhou at 2:17 pm. Radar in Guangzhou received a flight deviation warning at 2:20:55 pm.

The aircraft was then released from cruising altitude. The controller called the crew but received no response. The last radar information recorded for the jet was at 2:21:40 pm — with standard pressure altitude at 3,380 meters, ground speed at 1,010 km/h, heading 117 degrees. The radar signal then disappeared.

The technology team will continue to carry out investigations into the cause of the accident, including in-depth wreckage identification, classification, flight data analysis and experimental verification.

When black boxes are recovered in fairly good condition, investigators can analyze and produce a report on their content within about three months. It requires data retrieval, decoding and analysis before producing a report. But it can take much longer when they are damaged, said Li Xiaojin, a professor from the Civil Aviation University of China in Tianjin.

According to information disclosed by the CAAC, the exterior of the flight recorder was seriously damaged and the storage units also had a certain degree of damage. But the device remained in relatively good shape.

"It takes time to decode the flight recorder. If the storage units were damaged, it may take longer. After decoding the device, it will provide strong evidence as to the cause of the accident," said Zhu Tao, head of aviation safety for the CAAC, at an earlier news conference.

09:13 2022-04-13
China's civil aviation authority steps up safety checks

BEIJING -- China's civil aviation sector has launched a two-week-long safety overhaul after a passenger plane crashed in southern China in March, said Wu Shijie, an official with the Civil Aviation Administration of China, on Tuesday.

The administration also sent steering groups to various regions to carry out safety supervision in the industry.

The civil aviation sector will further investigate and rectify risks and hidden dangers to prevent major accidents, Wu added.

Wu said the investigation is proceeding according to procedures. "We will do our best to determine the cause of the accident as soon as possible and release relevant information following laws and procedures."

The China Eastern Airlines aircraft, flight MU5735, crashed into a mountainous area in Tengxian county, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on March 21.

The civil aviation industry has strictly implemented a flight reward and suspension mechanism and improved epidemic prevention management to contain the spread of COVID-19, said Kong Fanwei, an official with the administration.

As of April 8, 1,555 international flights had been suspended since the mechanism was introduced in June 2020, including 644 flights this year.

07:27 2022-04-12
Deadly plane crash rumors dispelled
Rescuers secured by safety ropes conduct search and rescue work at the plane crash site in Tengxian County, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, March 25, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

What happened to China Eastern Airlines flight still undetermined

The cause of the crash of a China Eastern Airlines aircraft on March 21 is still undetermined, an official with the China Aviation Administration of China said, adding that rumors saying the analysis of the data of the black boxes has been completed and that the co-pilot was responsible are untrue.

CAAC has noticed rumors falsely using the names of government bodies and public security departments circulating online recently. Besides blaming the co-pilot for the crash and announcing the analysis of the black boxes is out, some also say that the administration has issued an urgent directive requiring pilots to take psychological health assessments, Wu Shijie, deputy director of the administration's safety office, told a news conference on Monday.

"Those rumors have severely misguided the public and interrupted the investigation. Together with the public security departments, we are trying to find out those responsible for spreading the rumors and they will be handled in accordance with the law," Wu said. "Authorities are still investigating the cause of the crash, so it's still too early to provide conclusions."

The Boeing 737 aircraft, which departed from Kunming, Yunnan province for Guangzhou, Guangdong province, crashed in Tengxian county of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on March 21. All 132 people on board were killed.

It's undeniable that the crash has had a certain degree of psychological and emotional impact on pilots and crews, Wu said. Some of them, especially young employees, have become stressed and depressed, and the administration has attached great importance to looking after their mental health.

"We asked airlines to offer psychological support to their pilots and crew members to ensure they are emotionally stable. Such support has proved effective and the employees can fully take on the responsibility of aviation safety," said Wu, adding that taking care of civil aviation employees' mental health is part of routine management.

On March 22, the administration launched a two-week safety inspection of the industry aimed at discovering and eliminating safety hazards.

The inspection is being carried out in all areas, including regional civil aviation administrations, airline companies, airports and pilot training organizations. More safety inspections will be carried out in China's civil aviation industry soon to prevent major accidents, Wu said.

Before the crash, the Chinese mainland had a safe flight record of 4,227 days, the best such record worldwide.

18:29 2022-04-11
Cause of airline crash still unknown, authorities say
Photo taken on March 27, 2022 shows the second black box recovered at the crash site of the China Eastern Airlines' plane in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo/Xinhua]

The cause of the crash of a China Eastern Airlines aircraft on March 21 has yet to be determined, and rumors saying that the analysis of the data of the black boxes has been completed and that the co-pilot is responsible are untrue, an official with the China Aviation Administration of China said.

CAAC has noticed that rumors about the tragedy being spread in the name of government bodies and public security departments have been recently circulating online.

Besides blaming the co-pilot for the crash and announcing that the analysis of the black boxes has been completed, some rumors have also stated that the administration has issued an urgent directive requiring pilots to take psychological health assessments. These are all untrue, Wu Shijie, deputy director of the administration's safety office, told a monthly routine news conference on Monday.

"Those rumors have severely misguided the public and interrupted the investigation. Together with the public security departments, we are trying to find out those who are responsible for spreading these rumors, and they will be handled in accordance with the law," Wu said. "Authorities are still investigating the cause of the crash, so it's still too early to draw conclusions."

The Boeing 737 aircraft, which departed from Kunming, Yunnan province, for Guangzhou, Guangdong province, crashed in Tengxian county of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on March 21. All 132 people on board died.

It's undeniable that the crash has caused pilots and airline staff certain degrees of psychological and emotional impact, Wu said.

Some of them, especially young employees, have become stressed and depressed. The administration has attached great importance to their mental health conditions, he said.

"We asked the airlines to offer psychological support to airline pilots and staff to ensure they are emotionally stable," he added.

20:57 2022-04-02
US panel arrives in China to assist with plane crash probe
A recovery team searches through the debris at the China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5735 crash site in Tengxian county, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. LU BOAN/XINHUA

BEIJING - A working group sent by the US National Transportation Safety Board arrived in China on Saturday to help investigate last month's crash of a China Eastern Airlines aircraft, said the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

The seven-member panel, consisting of authorized representatives and technical advisors, will participate in the investigation organized by the CAAC.

The group's main responsibility is to provide technical support in investigating and analyzing the cause of the accident from the perspective of aircraft design and manufacture.

The Boeing 737 aircraft, which departed from Kunming in Yunnan province for Guangzhou in Guangdong province, crashed in Tengxian County of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on March 21. All 132 people on board were killed.

09:43 2022-04-01
Key task turns to cause of plane crash
A recovery team searches through the debris at the China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5735 crash site on Thursday in Tengxian county, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. Various items from the cockpit have been found, including crew manuals and ID cards. LU BOAN/XINHUA

Preliminary investigation report on Flight MU5735 expected within next 30 days

With search and rescue operations for China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5735 basically complete, the key task now is to find the cause of the fatal crash, a senior civil aviation safety official said on Thursday.

A preliminary report is expected within 30 days.

"Both flight recorders, or black boxes, from the aircraft were recovered within seven days after the crash, and the identification of all passengers was confirmed within eight days. Currently, the key search and rescue operations are almost concluded," Zhu Tao, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China's aviation safety office, said at a news conference held in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Flight MU5735 left the southwestern city of Kunming, Yunnan province, at 1:11 pm on March 21 with 123 passengers and nine crew members onboard. Air traffic controllers lost track of the plane over Wuzhou at 2:21 pm. All people onboard were confirmed dead on Saturday.

Zhu said rescuers had found more than 49,000 pieces of debris, including key parts of the engines and wings. They are being disinfected, categorized and labeled for investigation, he added.

"We will not miss a single detail to get to the bottom of the cause of the accident, and discover the truth to prevent a similar accident from occurring," he said.

While decoding the black boxes, investigation teams have also conducted a preliminary probe on the crash site, the pattern of the debris and impact traces to determine the aircraft's flight path as well as the power of impact when it hit the ground. The teams have analyzed flight data recorded by air traffic control, he added.

Information on the aircraft, its cargo, passengers on board and their belongings has also been examined, Zhu said.

He added that according to international civil aviation agreements, a preliminary report on the accident will be completed within 30 days after the crash. After all the investigations are concluded, a full report will be made public.

With the investigation still ongoing, insurance companies have started to offer compensation related to the crash. As of Tuesday, 11 insurance companies had settled 14 claims worth a total compensation of 14.8 million yuan ($2.34 million) to victims' families, according to the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission.

In addition, four property and casualty insurance companies underwriting the fuselage of Flight MU5735 had so far made advance payments totaling 116 million yuan to China Eastern Airlines, the commission said in a release on Wednesday, adding that it will make further efforts to advance follow-up work on the insurance claims.

Jiang Xueqing and Shi Ruipeng contributed to this story.

15:45 2022-03-31
Diary records rescue efforts after air crash

Teng Xingwen, born in April 1994, started to serve in a fire brigade of Nanning, capital city of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, in 2019.

When the flight MU5735 crashed in Tengxian county of Wuzhou in Guangxi on March 21, he was summoned to reinforce the search and rescue effort in the first batch.

During the rescue operation, he recorded his both physical and psychological experience. The following are excerpts of his diary.

Firefighters stand at attention at the crash site of the China Eastern Airlines plane in Tengxian county, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo by Nanning fire brigade/Provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Part 1: 'Something serious'

On March 21 afternoon, I was compiling reading notes in the study room at my service station when the assembly bell rang.

When I rushed to board the fire truck, captain Wang Jiangang stopped. "Quickly check the number of teammates and equipment, we will reinforce Tengxian county in Wuhou," said captain Wang in a serious voice.

"This mission will be task-heavy and will require members with solid professional skills, good psychological qualities, and strong physical endurance," he added. He quickly named the team members on a list, and I was one of them.

On the way to Tengxian, I learned about the MU5735 crash on my phone. I felt a sense of tightness in my heart as I realized this was something serious.

I only had one thought in my mind at the time: As long as there was a glimmer of hope, I would put in 100 times the effort and do my very best.

Rescue team members search along a hill at the crash site of the China Eastern Airlines plane in Tengxian county, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo by Nanning fire brigade/Provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Part 2: Sleepless night

At 9:00 pm on March 21, the reinforcement team arrived at the assembly site.

The situation at the site was complex. The experts and leading professionals formulated rescue plans at the on-site base. We set up our temporary tents and waited for orders.

It was around midnight when we completed setting up the tents. Because of the hot and stuffy weather, along with anxiety of the mission, I couldn't sleep. I called my mother and told her that I was at the crash site.

She told me to stay safe and save as many as I could, and before I could realize it, I had tears flowing down my cheeks. "Mom, life is so precious. I want to have a hug with you."

Before daybreak, we were briefed on safety precautions and work disciplines. Search and rescue was designated as the top priority.

As we received orders to head into the mountains, my teammates and I felt heavy responsibilities on our shoulders.

Teng Xingwen examines the ground at the crash site of the China Eastern Airlines plane in Tengxian county, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo by Nanning fire brigade/Provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Part 3: Race against time

When I arrived at the scene, I saw fragments of the airplane spread across the mountains like snowflakes. Several large machineries were compactly placed within limited space to expand the way for on-site search and rescue.

Epidemic prevention procedures were never neglected. We disinfected our hands before entering the mountains, and we wore protective helmets, masks, clothing, gloves, visors and overshoes.

Every inch of our exposed skin was covered and none of the gears can be taken off while on-site.

It was inconvenient to go to the toilet so we were given disposable paper diapers in advance, and I felt a little embarrassed when I put on adult diapers for the first time in my life.

The team leader divided the search and rescue area into grids, grouped us into smaller groups, and put us on rotation. I formed a professional rope climbing team with five others to tackle steep and difficult slopes.

We went through hills after hills looking for survivors, never giving up.

When night came, everyone took out their portable high-intensity light. Teammates cooperated with each other. The whole region was illuminated like the starry sky above.

The next day, the weather in Wuzhou suddenly turned cold. The logistics support team sent us thermal underwear, and we began searching and digging around the core area.

Combined with various physical evidences such as aircraft landing gear and emergency positioning launcher found in the early stage, experts comprehensively studied and judged the possible positions of the black boxes, gradually narrowing the search area.

Teng Xingwen gets pulled out from the mud at the crash site of the China Eastern Airlines plane in Tengxian county, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo by Nanning fire brigade/Provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Part 4: Stuck in the mud

Heavy rain fell over the rescue area overnight on March 23.

On March 24, we received the order to widen the search area 1.5 times to search for the black boxes. The site was full of sludge, water and potholes, which was slippery and bumpy to walk on.

I thought the plane flew downside, and the black boxes would be at the bottom of the hill, and then I went to the lower place to excavate.

Unaware, my feet were deeply covered by mud, and when I found my shins cold, my thighs were almost in the mud. No matter how hard I tried to move out and even get rid of the mud around me, I fell further and further, and the muddy water flowed in.

The team leader discovered the situation and pulled the rope to help me out. I looked back at the pit and found my boot was there. Team leader warned rescuers that the mud had softened after the rain and they have to stay alert.

Members of the rescue team search the crash site for the black boxes from flight MU5735 and pieces of aircraft wreckage and debris. [Photo by Nanning fire brigade/Provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Part 5: Sweating

The temperature rose, and some team members even suffered from heatstroke during excavation. Team leader divided members into groups to work on rotation.

After the one-day search, my goggles were steaming up. My nose seemed to collapse and the ears were strangled by the mask rope.

What was the happiest moment on the scene? A large 2-liter bottle of mineral water. Gulp, gulp, and gulp down.

In order to prevent getting injured, we wore rescue clothes inside and isolation clothes outside.

Teammates said: "It starts to sweat just after putting on the isolation suits, before doing anything. As soon as you raise your hands, water flows down your arm to your body."

Teammates took off the fire rescue boots, and the sweat flowed out like rain. "Wearing boots is like walking in water on a rainy day."

I was almost exhausted every day when returning to the stationing area. I didn't want to eat. But eating was necessary to survive, for further search. It was so hard, but no one gave up.

We all worked hard and wanted to go faster! Faster! Hang on! Hang on! Try to find the black boxes!

There were also psychologists at the site to do psychological assessment for the team members and help solve their psychological problems. After each search and rescue operation, the team would hold a summary meeting immediately. The captain would read an encouraging letter from the fire brigade, which greatly boosted the morale of the team.

Rescuers file across the mountainside in a line. [Photo by Nanning fire brigade/Provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Part 6: Blue flame

At the door of the stationing area, we met the families of the victims. We collectively stood at attention, took off our hats, bowed our heads, observed silence and bowed for the victims. With the ringing sirens, I prayed silently for the victims.

Although there are no superheroes in the world, each of us is a little light in the night. May the fireflies converge into a galaxy to illuminate the way home for the departed.

On March 27, I received an order to return to Nanning, and some team members stayed to continue the search work.

In these seven days, we fought side by side with thousands of workers from all over the country to deal with the air crash.

Together, we completed the search for the black box, and found more than 30,000 pieces of aircraft wreckage and debris, with a cumulative search area of more than 9 million square meters. I was proud of being a member of the search and rescue team.

Rescuers move a piece of aircraft wreckage down the slope together. [Photo by Nanning fire brigade/Provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
11:36 2022-03-31
Settlement of plane crash insurance claims underway: regulator
The People's Insurance Co (Group) of China Ltd, one of China's leading insurers, is the chief underwriter of the China Eastern Airlines plane that crashed. The company has started its emergency mechanism for major accident claims and established a special working group. [Photo/IC]

BEIJING -- China's insurance industry is actively settling the insurance claims from the China Eastern Airlines plane crash, the country's top banking and insurance regulator said on Wednesday.

As of Tuesday, four insurance companies underwriting the fuselage of the China Eastern Airlines aircraft, flight MU5735, had advanced the airline 116 million yuan (about $18.2 million), according to the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission.

In addition, 11 insurance companies have so far paid 14.85 million yuan to some of the bereaved families.

The regulator said it will make further efforts to advance follow-up work on the insurance claims.

The Boeing 737 aircraft, which departed from Kunming in Yunnan province for Guangzhou in Guangdong province, crashed in Tengxian county of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on March 21. All 132 people on board the plane were killed.

10:40 2022-03-31
Investigators move to finding the cause of plane crash
Photo taken on March 27, 2022 shows the second black box recovered at the crash site of the China Eastern Airlines' plane in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo/Xinhua]

As search and rescue operations of the crashed MU5735 are nearly completed, the key task now is to find out the cause of the fatal accident and a preliminary report will be completed within 30 days of the accident, a senior civil aviation safety official said on Thursday.

"Both flight recorders, or black boxes, from the aircraft was recovered within seven days after the crash, and the identification of all passengers was confirmed within eight days. Currently, the key search and rescue operations are almost concluded," Zhu Tao, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China's aviation safety office, said at a news conference held in Wuzhou of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5735 left the southwestern city of Kunming at 1:11 pm on March 21 with 123 passengers and nine crew members onboard. Air traffic controllers lost track of the plane over Wuzhou at 2:21 pm. All people onboard were confirmed dead on Saturday.

Zhu said rescuers found more than 49,000 pieces of debris of the aircraft, including key parts of the engines and wings, by Wednesday. They are being disinfected, categorized and labeled for investigation, which is the key task from now on, he added.

"We will carry out the investigation objectively and scientifically," he said. "We will not miss a single point to get to the bottom of the cause of the accident, and restore the truth to prevent similar accident from reoccurring."

While decoding the black boxes, investigation teams have also conducted preliminary probe on the crash site, pattern of the debris and impact traces to determine the aircraft's flight path and attitude as well as the power of impact when it approached the ground. Also, the teams have analyzed flight data recorded by air traffic control's system to restore the flying process of MU5735, he added.

Information on the aircraft and its cargos as well as passengers onboard and their belongings have also been examined, Zhu said.

He added that according to international civil aviation agreements, a preliminary report on the accident will be completed within 30 days after the crash. After all the investigations are concluded, a full report will be made public.

10:21 2022-03-31
Major search, rescue mission for China plane crash completed
Search and rescue team members of the Guangxi Armed Police corps uncover wreckage of China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5735 at the crash site in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on Saturday. JIANG HUAIPENG/CHINA NEWS SERVICE

NANNING -- The emergency response headquarters' major search and rescue operation for the recent plane crash of China Eastern Airlines has been basically completed, an official said on Thursday.

All emergency response commanders and on-site search and rescue personnel completed the search for the two black boxes of the passenger plane in seven days, while finishing the identification and DNA testing of all the passengers in eight days, Zhu Tao, head of the aviation safety office of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, told a press briefing on Thursday.

A total of 49,117 pieces of wreckage had been recovered as of 4 pm Wednesday after a core area covering over 400,000 square meters was searched and 22,700 cubic meters of earth were excavated, said Zhang Zhiwen, an official with the government of South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Zhu said preliminary analysis is being carried out now that the site, debris distribution and impact marks have been located and photographed.

He added the data of the black boxes are also being decoded.

The emergency response headquarters had conducted over 7,900 psychological evaluations and provided over 2,900 psychological counseling sessions by Wednesday, according to the press briefing.

A preliminary investigation report on the plane crash is expected to be completed within 30 days of the incident, and a complete report will be released to the public after all investigations are finished, according to Zhu.

"We will leave no stone unturned to find out the cause of the accident and prevent similar accidents from happening again," Zhu said.

A Boeing 737 airplane, which departed from Kunming, capital of Southwest China's Yunnan province, and was bound for Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, crashed into a mountainous area in Tengxian county, Guangxi, at around 2:38 pm on March 21. All 132 people on board the plane were killed.

07:57 2022-03-29
All 132 victims of China's plane crash identified

NANNING -- All 132 victims of the China Eastern Airlines plane crash have been identified through DNA testing, an official told a press briefing on Monday.

After the accident, public security authorities across 20 provincial-level regions were organized to identify the victims by collecting DNA samples of those on board and their relatives, said Liu Kaihui, an official with the Ministry of Public Security.

A total of 20 DNA experts have conducted DNA testing and analysis of the samples, and the identity of the final victim was confirmed Monday morning, Liu said.

The Boeing 737 aircraft, which departed from Kunming in Yunnan Province for Guangzhou in Guangdong Province, crashed in Tengxian County of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on March 21.

20:18 2022-03-28
Investigation work continues for MU5735 as 'black boxes' are analyzed
A rescue team member holds the second black box of the MU5735, just recovered and believed to be the flight data recorder, on March 27, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

As decoding and analysis work for the two "black boxes" recovered from the MU5735 crash is ongoing, other avenues for investigation are also progressing, an official with the Civil Aviation Administration of China said on Monday.

Two black boxes were recovered and sent to Beijing for decoding and analysis - one on Sunday and the other on Wednesday, Zhu Tao, head of the CAAC safety office, said at a news conference in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

The flight data recorder can record 25 hours of around 1,000 types of flight data, including altitude, speed, direction and how the crew operated the aircraft. The other, the cockpit voice recorder, could record for two to three hours anything said in the cockpit as well as ambient sounds.

Apart from analyzing black boxes, the investigation team is also collecting other evidence such as aircraft debris, accident-related video clips and witnesses' accounts, Zhu said.

"To restore the truth, it is insufficient to rely only on data from the black boxes in an air crash accident investigation," he said.

Shu Ping, director of the China Academy of Civil Aviation Science and Technology's Aviation Safety Institute, said the investigation for an air crash involves not only black boxes but also information collected at the crash site and experimental verification.

For example, he said, if at the crash site a tree branch was seen to be pulled inside the engine, investigators can determine that the engine was running before hitting the ground. But the flight data recorder would be needed to establish the speed of the engine.

"Many objects at the crash site could be used to analyze the situation, such as the condition of the engine system," he told CAAC News.

Flight MU5735 crashed with 123 passengers and nine crew members aboard into a mountain in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region at 2:21 pm on March 21. All those onboard were confirmed dead.

17:35 2022-03-28
DNA matching completed for MU5735 victims
Photo taken on March 27, 2022 shows a memorial event at the crash site of the China Eastern Airlines plane to mourn the deaths of the 132 people involved in the accident in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo/Xinhua]

DNA matching for all 132 victims onboard China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5735 was completed as of Monday morning, an official said on Monday.

Authorities are making a plan on how victims' remains and recovered belongings should be transferred, Zhu Tao, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China's aviation safety office, said at a news conference.

After the crash occurred in the afternoon of March 21, the Ministry of Public Security quickly formed a work plan to identify victims and established a special platform for DNA comparison according to Liu Kaihui, an official with the Institute of Forensic Science of China affiliated with the Ministry of Public Security.

Public security departments in more than 20 provincial-level regions were involved in collecting DNA samples of victims and their family members, he said at the conference.

"Our institute also dispatched a team of 30 experts to the site of the crash in Wuzhou, carrying out on-site investigations with more than 200 forensic science workers in Guangxi," he said, adding the identities of all 132 victims were confirmed.

Wuzhou mayor Zhong Changzi said the city's funeral home is responsible for receiving and keeping the victims' remains.

17:12 2022-03-28
How will insurance work for MU5735 victims?

Chinese insurers are stepping up efforts to offer quick support following the crash last Monday of a China Eastern Airlines plane with 132 people aboard. They have begun verifying information of insured passengers and preparing compensation payments. Here are some facts about the process.

[Photo/IC]

Who underwrote MU5735?

The People's Insurance Co (Group) of China Ltd, one of China's leading insurers, is the chief underwriter of the plane that crashed. The company has started its emergency mechanism for major accident claims and established a special working group.

Subsidiary companies of Ping An Insurance Group Co also took steps related to the underwriting of the flight. The Guangdong branch of Ping An Property & Casualty Co Ltd jointly insures all risks and liabilities for the fuselage.

China Pacific Insurance Co is another insurer of the flight. After the accident, it started an internal verification process about airframe, group accident, flight accident insurance and other types of insurance with institutions in Yunnan province.

The Boeing logo is seen in this photo. [Photo/Agencies]

How much airframe compensation is estimated?

The types of aircraft insurance involved in this crash are mainly airframe and aviation liability insurance, which usually includes passenger liability and third party liability insurance.

According to industry estimates, the average price of the Boeing 737 series ranges from 467 million to 676 million yuan ($73 million to $106 million).

Taking into account depreciation at time of the flight, the compensation amount of the coinsurer and its reinsurer alone will reach hundreds of millions of yuan.

Photo taken with a mobile phone shows pieces of a crashed passenger plane's wreckage found at the crash site in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, March 21, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

What compensation will families receive?

In general, families of air crash victims and injured passengers in domestic flights can receive two types of compensation: one is the compensation borne by the carrier (the airline); the other is the compensation borne by the insurance company, i.e. aviation accident insurance.

According to a regulation issued by China’s aviation authority in 2006, families of air crash victims can be compensated up to 400,000 yuan ($62,982) each from airlines. It also sets the maximum compensation for damage on each passenger's carry-on baggage as well as checked luggage, at 3,000 yuan per person and 100 yuan per kilogram respectively.

However, in practice, the compensation standard changes with the consumption index. So the actual amount of compensation is often higher than the maximum limit.

Whether passengers can get compensation from personal safety insurance, accident insurance or other types of insurance depends on the specific rules of the policies in terms of their coverage for aviation accidents.

Industry insiders predict insurance companies will pay a total of 100 to 300 million yuan for the MU5735 plane crash, assuming each passenger on board can be compensated 1 to 2 million yuan.

A photo taken on March 22, 2022, shows debris found at the site where a China Eastern Airlines aircraft carrying 132 people crashed in Southern China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on Monday afternoon. [Photo/Xinhua]

How soon will compensation be paid?

Usually after receiving a compensation request from the insured or the beneficiary, the insurer shall make the approval in time; if the situation is complicated, approval shall be made within thirty days; if the case belongs to insurance liability, the insurer shall fulfill the compensation obligation within 10 days of reaching the compensation agreement with the insured or the beneficiary.

The day after the crash, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission called on the country's insurance industry to make an all-out effort to provide proper insurance claim service for the crash. After the accident, 21 insurance institutions launched on-site investigations and participated in the rescue.

After all passengers onboard the plane were confirmed dead on Saturday night, China Eastern Airlines has set up a special team responsible for compensation and opened a hotline for victims' families. Convenience will be offered to families, and the company will take the initiative to discuss the situation with them either online or offline.

15:17 2022-03-28
Watch it again: News conference on rescue work after plane crash

Chinese officials are holding a news conference Monday afternoon to provide updates on the Boeing 737 jetliner crash in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

The data storage unit for the second black box of China Eastern Airlines MU5735 survived the impact and remained in relatively good shape, while other parts of the device were severely damaged, an official said on Sunday.

China Eastern Airlines has officially launched the compensation process for family members of the victims, the company said Sunday.

Tune in to watch live at 5 pm on the China Daily website and app.

07:22 2022-03-28
Psychologists support victims' families
Search and rescue team members of the Guangxi Armed Police corps uncover wreckage of China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5735 at the crash site in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on Saturday. JIANG HUAIPENG/CHINA NEWS SERVICE

Psychologists are working closely with family members of the victims of flight MU5735, and have offered help to 357 relatives as of Sunday noon.

However, long-time psychological assistance and sustained support will be needed to help them recover from the trauma, experts said.

Ninety-nine psychologists are working in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, where the China Eastern Airlines jet crashed on March 21. They are divided into 12 teams, with 11 teams stationed in hotels where victims' relatives are staying and one at the crash site, said Yin Ping, the leader of the team of psychologists.

"A special team with two psychologists is helping each of the families and has been offering psychological counseling services all the way through," he said at a news conference in Wuzhou.

By Sunday noon, psychologists had offered professional counseling sessions 1,611 times.

Flight MU5735, with 132 people on board, crashed in a mountainous area after losing contact with air traffic controllers at 2:21 pm. All people on board were confirmed dead on Saturday night.

Yin said offering psychological counseling to the victims' family members is one of the key tasks after the tragedy. Counseling started the evening of the crash.

"It's been seven days. As many family members have started to accept the reality that they have lost their next of kin they're showing sorrowful emotions," Yin said.

Such feelings need to be understood and accepted, and people must accompany the relatives and help them release their pain, he said.

Although some relatives have left Wuzhou and returned home, psychological counseling will continue in the city, Yin said.

Zhu Zhuohong, a professor with the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Psychology, said dealing with an air crash is "very special".

"Different from natural disasters, the aftermath (of an air crash) involves the search for remains, the identification of the cause of a crash and settlements of claims-all very complicated issues."

As long as these issues remain unfinished, the trauma will linger, he said in an interview with news website Paper.cn.

He said family members of air crash victims usually have to go through stages of acute distress, release of anger, and depression before they finally accept the reality of the situation and start to recover.

"Without adequate psychological intervention, many people may suffer lasting psychological trauma because of the sudden loss of their loved ones," he said.

Wu Kankan, another psychologist with the institute, called for a support mechanism for psychologists in Wuzhou to enhance their capabilities to deal with problems they may not have encountered before. "Training should be organized for them as well," he said.

Relatives of passengers of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which went missing eight years, are also offering support. On Sina Weibo they have started a hashtag called "words from family members of MH370 victims to next of kin of MU5735 victims", saying they are ready to help anytime they are needed.

Jiang Hui, whose mother was on board MH370, initiated the hashtag. He said he hopes family members of MU5735 victims do not have to suffer alone.

It's better for them to accept psychological intervention and help from psychologists, as having them present and listening to them will help the family members recover, he said.

The Beijing-bound MH370 left Kuala Lumpur in the early hours of March 8, 2014, with 239 people aboard, including 154 Chinese nationals. The flight vanished from radar screens and remains missing.

07:01 2022-03-28
Wrapup: All 132 on board confirmed dead
A memorial was held at the crash site of the China Eastern Airlines jet on Sunday morning for the 132 people who were killed in the accident in Tengxian county, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. ZHOU HUA/XINHUA

Families hold memorial at crash site; second black box sent to Beijing

Despite an intensive search and rescue effort and weeklong prayers for miracles nationwide, all 132 people on board the China Eastern Airlines jet that crashed on March 21 have been confirmed to have died.

Meanwhile, the second black box-the flight data recorder-was recovered at about 9:20 am on Sunday. Its recovery could play a key role in discovering why the tragedy occurred.

China Eastern Flight MU5735 crashed with 123 passengers and nine crew members aboard into a mountain in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region at 2:21 pm on March 21. The jet had taken off from the southwestern city of Kunming at 1:11 pm for Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

On Sunday, a memorial ceremony for the victims was held at the site of the search and rescue operation.

In Chinese culture, it is believed that on the seventh day after a death, called touqi, the spirits of the dead return to bid a final farewell to their loved ones.

The ceremony began at 2 pm, with horns of vehicles sounding through the field. Search and rescue personnel and some victims' family members faced the direction of the crashed jet and stood in solemn silence for three minutes in honor of those who died.

Similar ceremonies were also held at various places, such as funeral homes.

Some family members collected earth from the crash site to take back home as a memento of their loved ones. Yin Ping, a psychologist who helps with counseling for the grieving families, said the search and rescue team provided pottery jars for the grieving relatives.

"It is their way to connect with their deceased family members," he told China Central Television. "If the living never forget the dead, the dead will be with them forever."

The aircraft's second black box is recovered on Sunday. [Photo/Xinhua]

China Eastern Airlines said on Sunday that it had officially begun the compensation process for the victims' families.

"We'll fully respect reasonable demands from the victims' families and discuss with them in detail," Liu Xiaodong, head of the airlines' publicity department, said at a news conference in Wuzhou. "We'll formulate the compensation plan and determine a unified standard of compensation."

The airline has set up a team responsible for the compensation and opened a hotline for the victims' families, he said.

As for the second black box, Zhu Tao, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China's aviation safety office, said the exterior of its data storage unit was in relatively good shape, but the rest of it was severely damaged.

The device was found buried 1.5 meters deep in the ground about 40 meters from the main crash site, he said, adding that it had been sent to a laboratory for decoding.

The first black box-containing the cockpit voice recorder-was recovered and sent to Beijing on Wednesday. Downloading and analysis work of its data is still underway.

When black boxes are recovered in fairly good condition, investigators can analyze and produce a report on their content within about three months, but it can take much longer when they are damaged, said Li Xiaojin, a professor from the Civil Aviation University of China in Tianjin.

Cao Yin contributed to this story.

19:41 2022-03-27
Compensation process launched for families of crash victims
Participants of the press conference on the China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5735 aircraft accident observe a moment of silence in Wuzhou, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, March 26, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

China Eastern Airlines has officially launched the compensation process for the crashed Flight MU5735 and requests from family members of the victims will be fully respected, the company said on Sunday.

The plane crashed in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on Monday afternoon. The 132 people - 123 passengers and nine crew members - onboard the plane were confirmed dead on Saturday night.

"We'll fully respect reasonable demands of the victims' families and negotiate with them in detail," said Liu Xiaodong, head of the publicity department of China Eastern Airlines. "We'll formulate the compensation plan and determine a unified compensation standard."

The airline has set up a special team responsible for compensation and opened a hotline for the victims' families, he said at a news conference in Wuzhou.

Convenience will be offered to the families, and the company will take the initiative to discuss with them either online or offline, he said.

Liu said the company has sent staff to accompany family members and understand their demands face-to-face. Some family members have asked to leave Wuzhou and the airline has offered them transportation, he said.

"We'll continue following demands of those relatives and provide targeted assistance," he said.

19:00 2022-03-27
Counseling provided to families of flight accident victims

Experts are paying close attention to the psychological status of family members of victims of Flight MU5735 and have offered help to 357 family members, a leading expert said on Sunday.

At present, 99 psychological experts are working in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, where the plane crashed on Monday. They are divided into 12 teams, with 11 stationed in hotels accommodating victims' family members and one at the crash site, according to Yin Ping, a psychological expert.

"There is a special team with two experts for each of the families, offering psychological counseling services all the way through," he said. By Sunday at noon, experts had given professional counseling 1,611 times.

Flight MU5735, with 132 people onboard, departed from the southwestern city of Kunming at around 1 pm on Monday for Guangzhou. It crashed in a mountainous area in Wuzhou, Guangxi, at 2:21 pm. All people were confirmed dead on Saturday night.

The search and rescue command center held a mourning ceremony on the crash site on Sunday, with the participation of some family members.

Yin said offering psychological counseling to victims' family members is one of the key tasks after the tragedy occurred and the work started on Monday evening.

He said some family members have left Wuzhou after paying tribute on-site, but the psychological services will continue.

"It's been seven days. As many family members have started to accept the reality they have lost their next of kin, they've shown obvious sorrow," Yin said.

Their mood needs to be understood and accepted. They also need people to accompany them and help them cope, he said.

17:57 2022-03-27
Data unit on second flight recorder in good shape, officials say
A rescue team member holds the second black box of the MU5735, just recovered and believed to be the flight data recorder, on March 27, 2022.[Photo/Xinhua]

The data storage unit for the second black box of China Eastern Airlines MU5735 survived the impact and remained in relatively good shape, while other parts of the device were severely damaged, an official said on Sunday.

The unit has been sent to professional laboratories for decoding, Zhu Tao, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China's aviation safety office, said at a news conference.

The device - believed to be the flight data recorder - was recovered at about 9: 20 am Sunday. It was buried 1.5 meters underground and about 40 meters from the main crash point, he said.

The first black box of the plane - the cockpit voice recorder - was recovered on Wednesday. The data downloading and analysis work of the first black box is underway.

All people onboard the China Eastern Airlines jet - 123 passengers and nine crew members -were confirmed dead on Saturday night.

Flight MU5735 crashed into a mountain in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on Monday afternoon. The jet left Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, at 1:11 pm Monday and was scheduled to arrive in Guangzhou, Guangdong province at 3:05 pm.

16:48 2022-03-27
Mourning ceremony held for crash victims in S China
Personnel involved in search and rescue face the direction of the crashed jet and stand in solemn silence for three minutes as a tribute to the victims in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on March 27, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

A mourning ceremony was held for the 132 victims - 123 passengers and nine crew members - of the crashed MU5735 aircraft at the search and rescue site on Sunday afternoon.

All people onboard the China Eastern Airlines jet were confirmed dead on Saturday night.

The event began at 2 pm on Sunday, with horns sounding through the field. Personnel involved in the search and rescue faced the direction of the crashed jet and stood in solemn silence for three minutes as a tribute to the victims, according to video footage from China Central Television.

Apart from the ceremony held at the crash site, similar events were also carried out at different localities, such as funeral homes.

Rescuers have continued to search for the remains and belongings of the victims, as well as debris from the aircraft to gather evidence and provide closure to victims' relatives. The investigation into the cause of the accident is ongoing.

Flight MU5735 crashed into a mountain in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on Monday afternoon. The jet left Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, at 1:11 pm Monday and was scheduled to arrive in Guangzhou, Guangdong province at 3:05 pm.

Personnel involved in search and rescue face the direction of the crashed jet and stand in solemn silence for three minutes as a tribute to the victims in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on March 27, 2022. [Photo/Sina Weibo account of CCTV News]
Personnel involved in search and rescue face the direction of the crashed jet and stand in solemn silence for three minutes as a tribute to the victims in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on March 27, 2022. [Photo/Sina Weibo account of CCTV News]
Personnel involved in search and rescue face the direction of the crashed jet and stand in solemn silence for three minutes as a tribute to the victims in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on March 27, 2022. [Photo/Sina Weibo account of CCTV News]
Personnel involved in search and rescue face the direction of the crashed jet and stand in solemn silence for three minutes as a tribute to the victims in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on March 27, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]
13:01 2022-03-27
Search and rescue work continues at plane crash site in Tengxian county, Guangxi
Rescuers secured by safety ropes conduct search and rescue work at the plane crash site in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, March 26, 2022.  [Photo/Xinhua]

All 132 people on board China Eastern Airlines' plane that crashed Monday in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region were dead, an official announced Saturday.

The national emergency response headquarters for the China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5735 aircraft accident on March 21 made the announcement at a press conference late night on Saturday after six days of all-out search and rescue efforts.

A rescuer ties a safety rope to a tree at the plane crash site in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, March 26, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]
Rescuers secured by safety ropes conduct search and rescue work at the plane crash site in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, March 26, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]
Rescuers secured by safety ropes conduct search and rescue work at the plane crash site in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, March 25, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]
A rescuer secured by a safety rope conducts search and rescue work at the plane crash site in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, March 26, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]
11:03 2022-03-27
Second black box of China's crashed plane recovered
A rescue team member holds the second black box of the MU5735, just recovered and believed to be the flight data recorder, on March 27, 2022.[Photo/Xinhua]

NANNING -- The second black box of the China Eastern Airlines' plane that crashed Monday in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region was recovered Sunday, according to the national emergency response headquarters for the accident.

The Boeing 737 aircraft, which departed from Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province, and was bound for Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, crashed into a mountainous area in Tengxian County, Guangxi, at around 2:38 pm Monday. All 132 people on board the plane were dead, according to the headquarters.

The first black box of the plane, believed to be the cockpit voice recorder, was recovered on Wednesday. The data downloading and analysis work of the first black box is underway.

22:22 2022-03-26
All 132 people on board China's crashed plane dead, official says

All 132 people - 123 passengers and nine crew members - onboard the China Eastern Airlines jet that crashed on Monday in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region are dead, a senior official of Civil Aviation Administration of China said on Saturday night.

Despite of the intensive search and rescue operations since Monday, there has been no sign of life at the crash site, Hu Zhenjiang, deputy head of Civil Aviation Administration of China, said at a news conference held in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

"We have analyzed surveillance video footages, air traffic control data and the pattern of the debris at the crash site. We can be certain that there are no survivors" he said.

"With a heavy heart and deep sadness, we are here to announce that the 123 passengers and nine crew members onboard China Eastern Flight MU5735 have all lost their life."

After the announcement, people attending the news conference observed a minute's silence to mourn for the victims.

Hu said the search and rescue teams will continue to look for the victims, their remains, belongings and debris of the aircraft to show respect to life and be responsible to the victims' relatives. Also, the findings at the crash site are key for the tragedy's investigations.

China Eastern Flight MU5735 left Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, at 1:11 pm Monday. It was scheduled to arrive in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, at 3:05 pm. Air traffic controllers lost track of the plane over Wuzhou at 2:21 pm.

19:10 2022-03-26
Identity of 120 people onboard the crashed plane confirmed
Workers remove wreckage at a plane crash site in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, March 25, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

The identity of 120 people, including 114 passengers and six crew members, onboard the crashed MU5735 has been confirmed by the public security department, head of the search and rescue team said on Saturday. 

Local civil affairs department have arranged funeral service assistance. All the remains and belongings of the victims have been properly stored, said Zheng Xi, head of the Fire and Rescue Brigade of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

The China Eastern Airline jet carrying 132 people crashed into a mountain in Guangxi on Monday.

"Search and rescue work is still underway," Zheng said at a news conference, adding that the team's current priority is searching for signs of lives and the second "black box". One of two "black box" flight recorders was recovered on Wednesday. 

Zhu Tao, head of the aviation safety office of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said at the news conference that as of Saturday noon, 493 family members for 80 passengers have arrived in Wuzhou, Guangxi.  

Zhu said each family will have tailored assistance such as psychological counseling. Their requests and claims will be handled timely.  

A total 747 mental evaluations and 1,182 counseling sessions have been provided to families members, he said.

According to Liu Xiaodong, head of the China Eastern Airlines' publicity department, the airliner managed to contact families from all passengers onboard in 24 hours.

He said it is difficult to fulfill all requirements from each family in a short term, but many practical problems have been solved thanks to the quick response and cooperation from government departments from different regions and social assistance. 

He also noted that the airline company has established a team to offer reassurance to families of missing crew members onboard, and also help the family to solve practical problems.

17:25 2022-03-26
No explosive component found at plane crash site
Rescuers conduct search and rescue work at the core site of the plane crash in Tengxian County, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, March 25, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

No traces of explosive have been found from the samples of the debris of MU5735 so far, head of the Guangxi Fire and Rescue Brigade said, on Saturday.

"After examining 41 of the 66 samples of the debris sent to the laboratory, no traces of common organic and inorganic explosives have been found," Zheng Xi, head of the Guangxi Fire and Rescue Brigade, said at a news conference in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Rescuers have so far found no survivors. The cockpit voice recorder was found on Wednesday near the point of impact, and it was sent to a laboratory in Beijing for decoding and analysis.

Zhu Tao, head of the aviation safety office of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said on Saturday that although the second black box—flight data recorder—from the aircraft still hasn't been recovered, an Emergency Locater Transmitter located near the FDA has been found.

"More than 24,000 pieces of the aircraft debris have been found. A warehouse to store them has been set up so they can be categorized for analysis," he said.

Zheng said rescuers are still making their utmost efforts to look for signs of lives and the second black box. "We'll not give up any hope," he said, adding that more firefighters have arrived at the scene from other cities in Guangxi to help with the rescue work.

China Eastern Flight MU5735 left Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, at 1:11 pm Monday with 123 passengers and nine crew members onboard. It was scheduled to arrive in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, at 3:05 pm. Air traffic controllers lost track of the plane over Wuzhou at 2:21 pm.

16:56 2022-03-26
Watch it again: News conference on rescue work after plane crash

Chinese officials are holding a news conference Saturday afternoon to provide more details about the Boeing 737 jetliner crash in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Currently, the search teams are still making the best efforts to search for survivors and recover the second black box of the crashed China Eastern Airline's flight MU5735.

Tune in to watch the news conference LIVE on the China Daily website and app.

10:50 2022-03-26
Expert: Black boxes take time to study
One of two 'black box' recorders discovered from crashed plane in Tengxian, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on March 23, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

Black boxes are usually easily found after air crashes because of their colorful exterior and signal, but it generally takes months to complete a report of their content, according to a civil aviation expert.

When black boxes are recovered in fairly good condition, investigators can analyze and produce a report on their content in about three months, but it can take much longer when they are damaged, said Li Xiaojin, a professor from the Civil Aviation University of China in Tianjin.

One of the black boxes from the crashed China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5735 was found on Wednesday and sent to Beijing for analysis, said Zhu Tao, head of aviation safety for the Civil Aviation Administration of China. The other black box has not yet been recovered.

Both were made by Honeywell in the United States.

The black box that was found contained the cockpit voice recorder, and the missing one holds the flight data recorder-with information including altitude, speed and heading.

A preliminary investigation at the crash site determined the exterior of the black box with the cockpit voice recorder was seriously damaged and the inner storage units were damaged to a lesser degree. But the device seemed to be in relatively good shape, according to the CAAC.

"It takes time to decode the flight recorder. If the storage units were damaged, it may take longer," Zhu said at a news conference on Wednesday.

Mao Yanfeng, director of the CAAC's disaster investigation agency, said at a news conference on Friday that they are unable to offer a timetable at this stage on completing the black box's data download and analysis work.

Li, of the Civil Aviation University, said that based on the information on damage to the first black box, it would likely take longer to analyze and report on the cockpit voice recorder.

"Based on the current technological development, there is no technical difficulty in decoding and analyzing data from the flight recorder. In addition to the investigation team from China, Boeing-the aircraft's maker-and Honeywell may also participate in the investigation," he said.

The investigation will also involve information collected at the crash site and experimental verification, said Shu Ping, director of the China Academy of Civil Aviation Science and Technology's Aviation Safety Institute.

For example, he said, if at the crash site a tree branch was seen to be pulled inside the engine, investigators can determine that the engine was running before hitting the ground. But the flight data recorder would be needed to establish the speed of the engine.

"Many objects at the crash site could be used to analyze the situation, such as the condition of the engine system," he said.

07:37 2022-03-26
Core site of plane crash to be excavated
Workers remove wreckage at a plane crash site in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, March 25, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

NANNING - The core site of the recent plane crash in south China will be excavated as all-out efforts are made to continue searching for survivors and the second black box, officials said at a news briefing on Friday.

Field exploration and shallow surface excavation have been carried out at the core crash site in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, said Zhu Tao, head of the aviation safety office of the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

Experts are working on an excavation plan for the core site, Zhu said, adding that DNA samples are being taken from relatives of the missing passengers.

The China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737 aircraft carrying 132 people crashed on the afternoon of March 21 in a mountainous area of Guangxi's Tengxian county. No survivors have been found so far. One black box has already been recovered.

The search and rescue scope has been expanded to nearly 200,000 square meters, and more than 2,200 people have joined the rescue efforts, said Lao Gaojin, vice mayor of Wuzhou city that administers Tengxian.

As of 10 am Friday, 531 family members of 92 missing passengers had arrived in Wuzhou.

The engine gearbox and main landing gear remnants were found in the core crash site, said Mao Yanfeng, head of the aviation accident investigation center of CAAC.

Mao noted that it is not certain when the downloading and analyses of data from the recovered black box will be completed.

A preliminary investigation report will be submitted to the International Civil Aviation Organization within 30 days in accordance with the Convention on International Civil Aviation, Mao added.

07:36 2022-03-26
Teams ID crash remains, still hope for survivors
Search and rescue work continues at the crash site of China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5735 in Tengxian county, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on March 25, 2022. [Photo by Lu Boan and Zhou Hua/Xinhua]

Experts from public security departments have begun examining the DNA of human remains at the site where a China Eastern Airlines jet crashed on Monday in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, a local police chief said on Friday.

More than 236 experts were engaged in the painstaking work of collecting biometric information at the site, examining DNA and identifying victims, said Lao Gaojin, head of the wuzhou public security bureau, at a news conference in Wuzhou on Friday afternoon.

"As of 3 pm Friday, we have collected 18 fingerprint samples from the human remains and 101 items of passengers' belongings," Lao said. He added that the search area was further expanded on Friday to 200,000 square meters.

China Eastern Flight MU5735 left Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, at 1:11 pm Monday with 132 people onboard and was scheduled to arrive in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, at 3:05 pm. Air traffic controllers lost track of the plane over Wuzhou at 2:21 pm.

Zhu Tao, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China's aviation safety office, said that although no survivors have been found yet, the search and rescue teams have not given up hope.

Huang Shangwu, a Guangxi Fire and Rescue Brigade officer at the crash site, told China Daily that muddy conditions caused by previous heavy rainfall posed great challenges to the search and rescue work.

"Also, because the site is in the mountains covered by forest, some of the plants are taller than the members of the rescue team, and there are some very steep slopes. But despite the difficulties, we are determined to comb the area thoroughly and to continue to look for survivors," Huang said on Thursday.

Workers remove wreckage of the airliner from the site in Tengxian county, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, on March 25, 2022. [Photo by Lu Boan and Zhou Hua/Xinhua]

Liu Xiaodong, head of China Eastern's publicity department, said whether the airline will publish the passenger manifest depends on the wishes of the passengers' relatives.

"Some airlines choose to publish the manifest after accidents on international flights so they can establish contact with the relatives of the passengers from different countries. Since China Eastern was able to reach the relatives of all the passengers within 24 hours of the crash, we will fully respect their will and privacy in deciding whether to publish the manifest."

By 10 am Friday, 375 relatives of passengers had come to the crash site to pay their respects. The collection of DNA samples from the passengers' direct relatives has been carried out, Zhu said.

In addition to searching for survivors, another key task is to recover the second of the two flight recorders, or black boxes, from the Boeing 737-800 at the crash site near the village of Molang, Tengxian county, Zhu said.

The cockpit voice recorder, was found on Wednesday near the point of impact, and it has been sent to a laboratory in Beijing for decoding and analysis.

"We plan to excavate the core area of the crash site in an attempt to find the other black box," Zhu said. The search team is making its best efforts to find the aircraft's flight data recorder, he said, because information on it would offer vital clues to the cause of the crash.

As required by international standards, a preliminary report in Chinese and English on the tragic accident must be sent to the International Civil Aviation Organization within 30 days of the crash, Mao Yanfeng, director of the CAAC's disaster investigation agency, said.

19:31 2022-03-25
Airlines assigns care and support teams for victims' families

China Eastern Airlines has assigned special teams for each family of the lost passengers onboard the crashed plane for one-on-one care and support, an official of the company said.

Liu Xiaodong, head of the company's publicity department, said at a news conference on Friday that the company has assigned for each family a team of three workers: one from or near the passenger's family's place of residence, one for long-term support and one for financial settlement.

More than 300 staff workers have been assigned to the work, with about 160 in Wuzhou, the crash site in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

The flight, departing from Yunnan province, crashed in Wuzhou on Monday en route to Guangzhou, Guangdong province, with 123 passengers and nine crew members onboard. Liu said the governments of the three provinces have also set up special work groups to assist the families.

In addition, the company has also mobilized experts in healthcare, psychological counseling, information and communication, financial and insurance as well as legal affairs to cater for relatives' specific needs.

He also vowed that the company will do its best to respond to relatives' requests regarding expense reimbursement, life support, itinerary arrangement and settlement.

Zhu Tao, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China's aviation safety office, said as of 10am Friday, the emergency response command has organized trips for 375 relatives to the crash site for condolences.

The command has also arranged for the remains and remnants, carried out DNA sampling and provided more than 500 psychological counseling for the immediate relatives of the lost passengers. Medical personnel have been on call 24 hours to treat any physical symptoms shown by family members.

17:41 2022-03-25
Fact check on viral posts about plane crash
Rescuers conduct search and rescue work at a plane crash site in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, March 24, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5735 crashed in a mountainous area in Wuzhou city of South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region with 132 passengers and crew onboard on Monday afternoon.

As the search and rescue efforts continue, there has also been many false information or rumors spreading. Here we debunk some of the widespread misinformation.

Rumor:

Some allege that Flight MU5735 crashed because China Eastern Airlines had repaired the pickle fork of the plane by itself.

Fact:

A pickle fork is a component that connects an airplane's body and its wing structure. The crashed aircraft did not require a repair in the pickle fork and therefore did not undergo one, according to the airline.

[File photo/VCG]

The crashed plane is a Boeing 737-800 aircraft registered B-1791. It was 6.8 years old and flew a total of 8,986 flights, far from the inspection standard of 22,600.

In October 2019, the US Federal Aviation Administration ordered emergency inspections of Boeing 737 NG planes, including 737-800s, after pickle fork cracks were found. Just over 1,000 airplanes globally underwent inspection at that time, including one aircraft with China Eastern Airlines' Yunnan branch. The technicians from Yunnan worked with Boeing to give a professional joint inspection for the aircraft, which met the airworthiness standards of the Civil Aviation Administration of China. The aircraft that received inspection was retired on Sept 8, 2020.

Rumor:

Some reports said the airlines has been strictly controlling maintenance expense and cutting costs due to its loss estimated to be more than 10 billion yuan ($1.57 billion) in 2021 and suggested this was one of the reasons of the crash.

Fact:

China Eastern Airlines said that contrary to these reports, to ensure safety, its maintenance costs have increased instead, though the COVID-19 resulted in fewer flights.

China Eastern aircraft on the tarmac at the international airport in Yantai, Shandong province. [File photo by Tang Ke/for China Daily]

The maintenance costs rose 12 percent in 2021 compared with 2019. As China Eastern Airlines is a listed company, the figures are open and transparent for check, a company official said.

Rumor:

Shortly after the crash happened, a video showing dense smoke and flames coming out from a mountain forest, with people speaking in dialect in the background, was posted online and believed by many to be the scene of the crash, which caused a forest fire.

Fact:

Some Chinese netizens stated that the fire in this video happened on March 20 in East China's Fujian province and the dialect in the background was not Wuzhou's.

This video showing dense smoke and flames coming out from a mountain forest, which went viral, has been confirmed not of the site of the plane crash. [Photo from web]

Authorities in Longyan city of Fujian later confirmed to Modern Express newspaper that the video is about a forest fire caused by a local village's ancestor worship rituals on March 20.

Photo taken with a mobile phone shows the plane crash site in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, March 21, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

Many of the rumors online involve the cause of the crash, which is still under investigation and what people are most concerned about.

Remember the only authoritative information of the cause of the crash will come from the investigation team.

Also, two different photos allegedly of the crew on the flight appeared online, both of which turned out to be photos of staff at other airlines.

The name list of the passengers and crew aboard the flight has not been released to the public so far.

It is advised to not to believe easily and share unconfirmed information.

Please visit our special coverage page on the plane crash to read more.

16:27 2022-03-25
What you need to know about black boxes

Editor's note: After a China Eastern Airlines jet crashed in South China's Guangxi autonomous region, rescue teams have been trying their best to search for the black boxes, because they are important to explain to everyone what happened. So what are black boxes and how's the search work going?

Graphic by chinadaily.com.cn

What are black boxes?

Black boxes are flight recorders placed in an aircraft for the purpose of facilitating the investigation of aviation accidents.

An airplane actually has two black boxes. The flight data recorder captures such information as altitude, airspeed, heading and engine thrust, which can reveal whether human error or instrument problems contributed to an accident. The cockpit voice recorder preserves pilot voices and cockpit sounds.

What do they look like?

The black boxes are not black. They are painted bright orange to aid in their recovery after accidents. The exterior is attached with stripes of reflective tape.

Where are they placed?

The black boxes are usually placed in the tail of a plane where they are more likely to survive a crash.

Photo taken on March 27, 2022 shows the second black box recovered at the crash site of the China Eastern Airlines' plane in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo/Xinhua]

How much data can a black box store?

A flight data recorder is required to store a minimum of 25 hours of flight information. A cockpit voice recorder is required to record a minimum of 2 hours of audio information.

How strong are they?

For the black boxes to survive a crash, they are built to be waterproof, fireproof, shockproof, heat and pressure and corrosion resistant.

The black box must be able to withstand an acceleration of 3,400 Gs (3,400 times the force of gravity), which equals an impact velocity of about 500 km/h. It must also survive flames up to 1,100 degrees Celsius for one hour, and the beacon should be able to emit a signal once per second while submersed in 6,000 meters of saltwater for at least 30 days.

How is data from black boxes retrieved?

It needs special technique to physically restore the black boxes. Investigators may need to clean and vacuum dry the black boxes and download data from them.

File photo of a black box. [Photo/IC]

How long does it take to decode the data?

It takes time to download and decipher data. If the storing units are damaged, it will take longer time, either days or months.

Black boxes of the crashed jet

The crashed China Eastern Airlines jet is a Boeing 737-800. Its black boxes were made by Honeywell in the United States.

China has found the cockpit voice recorder near the impact point of the crash. Its exterior is severely damaged. Its data storage unit is intact but with damage. It has been sent to a decoding laboratory in Beijing.

12:04 2022-03-25
Authorities continue search for second black box after plane crash
Rescuers conduct search and rescue work at a plane crash site in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, March 24, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

Recovery workers have not yet found the second black box of the China Eastern Airlines jet that crashed on Monday in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, according to the rescue headquarters.

Civil Aviation Administration of China News reported on Friday morning that the flight data recorder, the second of the two black boxes installed on the Boeing 737-800 aircraft, was recovered from the crash site near the village of Molang, Tengxian county of Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

However, local rescue headquarters soon clarified that the second recorder had not been found, according to Xinhua News Agency. Any information on the crash will be released by the search and rescue headquarters of the accident, it added.

Currently, search teams are still making the best efforts to recover the flight data recorder of the aircraft, according to the report.

FDR stores important data such as flight path, speed, altitude and engine power, which can reveal whether human error or instrument problems could have contributed to the crash.

The flight recorders, also known as black boxes, offer vital clues about plane crashes. The cockpit voice recorder was found on Wednesday near the impact point of the crash. It has been sent to a laboratory in Beijing for decoding and analysis.

Flight MU5735 left Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, at 1:11 pm on Monday and was scheduled to arrive in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, at 3:05 pm. Air traffic controllers lost track of the plane over Wuzhou at 2:21 pm.

09:00 2022-03-25
Wrapup: Searchers find debris, crew items, some remains in center of crash site
A recovery team searches through the debris at the China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5735 crash site on Thursday in Tengxian county, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. Various items from the cockpit have been found, including crew manuals and ID cards. LU BOAN/XINHUA

The main impact point where the China Eastern Airlines jet crashed on Monday in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region was identified and the search area was further enlarged amid heavy rain and landslides on Thursday.

Most of the debris from the aircraft is scattered in the core area, a 30-meter radius around the main point of impact, Zhu Tao, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China's aviation safety office, said at a news conference in Wuzhou, Guangxi, on Thursday afternoon.

"Some of the debris was about 20 meters underground. The search and rescue teams have recovered parts of the engine blades, horizontal tail and wings. Also recovered was debris from the cockpit, including crew manuals and identity cards and a rope for the crew to escape from the cockpit in an emergency," Zhu said.

Flight MU5735 left Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, at 1:11 pm Monday and was scheduled to arrive in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, at 3:05 pm. Air traffic controllers lost track of the plane over Wuzhou at 2:21 pm.

Zheng Xi, head of the Guangxi Fire and Rescue Brigade, said the search area on Thursday was about 1.5 times that of Wednesday. "By 4 pm, we had found 21 items of passengers' belongings and 183 pieces of aircraft debris. Also, some victims' remains were found."

Zheng added that a piece of what is thought to be aircraft debris was also found 10 kilometers from the main crash site near the village of Molang, Tengxian county.

Heavy rain hampered the search for a second straight day, but the searchers continued to use life sensors and metal detectors to comb through the heavily forested, steep slopes amid occasional small landslides, Zheng said.

Meanwhile, Chinese investigators are working on decoding the information in the cockpit voice recorder, which was found at the crash site on Wednesday. They hope it will shed a light on the cause of the crash, which civil aviation accident experts have described as of a "rarely seen" nature, Zhu said.

According to flight data, the aircraft was cruising in good weather conditions and suddenly began dropping sharply at high speed.

In accordance with international agreements, Zhu said, the CAAC has shared the basic crash information with the International Civil Aviation Organization and the US National Transportation Safety Board, the investigative authority of the country where the aircraft was manufactured.

"Our key task now is still to conduct search and rescue operations and collect evidence for a preliminary investigation. We will invite relevant parties to join us when the case enters the stage of accident investigation, in accordance with international agreements," Zhu said.

Information that China Eastern had made repairs on the "pickle forks"-which connect the wings and fuselage-of its Boeing 737-800 fleet has raised questions.

The 737-800 is part of Boeing's 737 NG(Next Generation) series. In late 2019, that series made global headlines when the US Federal Aviation Administration ordered dozens of Boeing 737s that had seen heavy use to undergo safety inspections because of cracking in the "pickle fork".

Liu Xiaodong, head of the airlines' publicity department said the suspicion is unfounded because the aircraft wasn't due for "pickle fork" repairs.

"The 6.8-year-old aircraft doesn't meet the requirement for 'pickle fork' repairs, which are required after 22,600 takeoffs and landings, so it isn't an issue," Liu said.

06:25 2022-03-25
In-depth: Rain hampers work near impact point
Workers search on Tuesday for the two black box flight recorders from the crashed plane, one of which was recovered the next day. ZHOU HUA/XINHUA

On Wednesday afternoon, two days after the crash of Flight MU5735, it was raining in Molang, a village near the scene of the disaster in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Some relatives of passengers who were on board the Boeing 737-800 burst into tears as they watched rescuers and excavators working in a mountainous area where loved ones could lie buried.

They left white and yellow chrysanthemums-a flower that Chinese traditionally use to pay tribute to the dead.

One relative was quoted as saying by People's Daily, "We have come here to see things with our own eyes."

The plane, operated by China Eastern Airlines, left Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, at 1:11 pm on Monday for Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province. Air traffic controllers lost track of the jet, which was carrying 123 passengers and nine crew members, over Wuzhou.

The plane crashed at about 2:30 pm, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Rescue workers were deployed quickly and on a large scale. The first rescue team, from Tengxian county, Wuzhou, arrived at the crash site at 3:50 pm on Monday. Now, more than 2,000 rescuers, including firefighters, armed police officers and army personnel, are working at the scene, according to the local headquarters.

The Molang village committee and the local primary school have been turned into temporary rescue headquarters. During breaks, rescuers sit in the school playground for a brief time. Some of them sleep on the floor in classrooms.

More than 100 villagers have formed a volunteer team. Dressed in red waistcoats, they help with the transportation of rescue materials.

One villager was quoted by People's Daily as saying, "We do whatever we can."

As the road into the village is extremely narrow, it is hard for large vehicles to enter. The report said villagers have helped bring in rescue materials on their motorcycles, which to some extent has eased transportation difficulties.

By 7 pm on Wednesday, rescuers had searched an area covering 46,000 square meters, but failed to find survivors.

One of the aircraft's two black boxes found on Wednesday, believed to be the cockpit voice recorder, was sent to Beijing for decoding, according to Zhu Tao, head of the aviation safety office of the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

He said the exterior of the black box was severely damaged, but its data storage unit survived relatively intact.

Zhu said downloading and decoding the data would take time, and this process could be prolonged further if the internal storage unit is damaged.

A cellphone picture of the crash scene on Monday. XINHUA

Blackened oranges

On Tuesday morning, a Xinhua reporter who arrived at the crash site described the scene as "charred mountains, broken branches and blackened oranges scattered all over the place".

Before the crash, the area was home to a forest of citrus fruit trees.

When the accident occurred, a huge explosion and heavy smoke attracted locals' attention.

Shi Zhulan, a villager in Wuzhou, was working in the fields with a younger sister when the plane came down. "Suddenly, my sister shouted 'plane'. I looked up and saw the white nose of an aircraft crashing down from the sky," Shi was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

Shi said that when the explosion occurred, triggering smoke and fire, some fragments of the plane disappeared into the distance.

Fellow villager Chen Weihao, who was on a hillside near the crash site, told Xinhua the plane appeared to be largely intact when it plunged down. He said he saw flames and heavy smoke at the scene.

Local residents said they often see planes fly over the village. Because the jet crashed in the mountains, no villagers were killed or injured.

Photos and video clips show that the main crash site is about half the size of a soccer field, but debris was scattered over a wide area, even on the other side of the mountains, according to Xinhua.

Rescue workers at the scene face many difficulties, according to the local headquarters.

For example, the crash site is surrounded by mountains on three sides, and there is the risk of rainfall and landslides adding to their problems.

On Tuesday, Zheng Xi, head of the Guangxi regional fire and rescue corps, said at a news conference: "Given that the crash site is located in a mountain forest with narrow roads and gullies, it's hard to carry out the rescue work, but we're doing our best."

The search area has been expanded to a 20-kilometer radius of the site.

Zhu Xiaodong, a rescue worker from Guangzhou, said drones have also been used to search for evidence from the crash over an area of nearly 680,000 square meters.

Heavy rain in the past two days has also made the work more difficult, forcing large-scale search and rescue operations to be suspended on Wednesday.

China Central Television reported that the rainfall has softened the soil, and there is the possibility of small-scale landslides at the crash site, meaning that rescuers have to carry out drainage work in addition to searches.

The report said that if the rain continues, work at the main crash area will become hindered by the muddy conditions. If there is a landslide, it might cover wreckage from the aircraft, adding to the problems.

Sympathy, condolences

The crash triggered widespread public attention and concern in China and overseas. By Thursday afternoon, at least 200 topics involving Flight MU5735 had appeared on Sina Weibo. More than 30 of them had been viewed more than 100 million times each.

While closely following the search and rescue work, many netizens have expressed their sympathy for those on board.

A Sina Weibo user said in a post on Wednesday: "I dreamed that a survivor was trapped in the mountain forest, and that he was found after he knocked on pipelines. I picked up my phone to confirm this, even though I knew it was probably unlikely."

Dignitaries and international organizations from many countries have also voiced deep condolences over the crash.

According to the official UN Sina Weibo account, Antonio Guterres, the international organization's secretary-general, expressed his condolences to family members of the victims, the Chinese government and the Chinese people. The International Civil Aviation Organization also said it was saddened by the tragic loss, sending its deepest condolences to all those affected by the disaster.

Overseas leaders, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said on social media platforms they were saddened to learn about the crash, adding that their thoughts are with the victims and their family members.

In addition, several ministries of foreign affairs, including those from Singapore, Turkey and Iran, along with the embassies of the United States, Indonesia, Iceland and New Zealand, expressed their condolences.

21:33 2022-03-24
Search for evidence, survivors continues amid challenging conditions

Fire and rescue teams have continued to carry out search operations at the crash site of a China Eastern Airlines jet in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, amid recent heavy rain, a China Daily reporter learned after arriving at the site on Thursday afternoon.

Heavy rain affected the search for a second straight day, with small landslides triggered on Thursday. Nevertheless, fire and rescue teams need to comb the heavily forested and steep slopes, which is very energy sapping, so different teams have to take turns to conduct the search, the China Daily reporter learned.

19:34 2022-03-24
Family members of crash victims accommodated, given assistance: Airline

A total of 305 family members of 56 passengers on China Eastern Airlines flight MU5735 have been accommodated in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, after the plane crashed on Monday, said Liu Xiaodong, head of the airline's publicity department.

Liu told a news conference on Thursday afternoon family members have been housed and aided in Wuzhou, receiving assistance from 161 staff members of the airlines and local authorities.

The jet carrying 123 passengers and nine crew members left Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, at 1:11 pm on Monday, bound for Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province. Air traffic controllers lost track of the flight over Wuzhou.

Since the accident happened, the airline quickly established a leading group for safe production and accident investigation, with nine special working groups mainly responsible for on-site work disposal, information coordination, legal support, financial insurance and family assistance.

"Major departments and their head officials are on duty 24 hours every day to deal with emergencies and ensure the aftermath of the crash and daily operations can be carried out in an orderly manner," he said.

During the epidemic, the airline has set up a psychological counseling team of more than 800 people offering 24-hour services, he said, adding the professional force has provided psychological aid and life assistance to families of lost crew members. Psychological counseling is also provided for other staff of the company, especially flight crews, he said.

He also told media more than 200 family members of the passengers have gone to the site of the crash, adding the airline has organized a special team to continuously solicit feedback to provide them with better services.

18:42 2022-03-24
China Eastern Airlines grounds 223 Boeing 737-800 aircraft

China Eastern Airlines and its subsidiaries have temporarily grounded 223 Boeing 737-800 aircraft after one such plane with 132 people on board crashed earlier this week in south China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, an airline official said Thursday.

All grounded aircraft are undergoing checks and maintenance according to the highest safety standard to ensure that they meet the airworthiness requirements, Liu Xiaodong, head of the airline's publicity department, told a press briefing.

He added that the airline has launched a sweeping safety overhaul following the air crash.

All other passenger planes of China Eastern Airlines, currently in operation, meet the airworthiness requirements of Chinese aviation authorities, Liu said.

18:27 2022-03-24
Airline dismisses false reports on plane maintenance

The aircraft that crashed on Monday did not require repairs in a component called the pickle fork, an executive of China Eastern Airlines said.

Liu Xiaodong, head of the company's publicity department, responded at a press conference on Thursday to rumors the Flight MU5737 crashed because the company had repaired the pickle fork, a component that connects wings to the fuselage, of the Boeing 737-800 aircraft by itself.

He said the crashed aircraft was 6.8 years old and flew a total of 8,986 flights, far from the inspection standard of 22,600.

In 2019, the US Federal Aviation Administration ordered the inspections of 38 Boeing 737 NG planes, including 737-800s, because of cracks found in the planes' pickle forks. There was only one aircraft with China Eastern Airlines' Yunnan branch that underwent inspection at that time. The technicians from Yunnan worked with Boeing to give a professional joint inspection for the aircraft, which met the airworthiness standards of the Civil Aviation Administration of China. The aircraft that received inspection was retired in September 2020.

Liu also added to ensure safety, the maintenance costs of China Eastern Airlines in 2021 have increased 12 percent compared with 2019, dismissing reports the airlines cut costs due to COVID-19.

The flight, departing from Kunming in Yunnan province, crashed en route to Guangzhou, Guangdong province, in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, with 123 passengers and nine crew members onboard.

The investigation of the cause is still ongoing, and Liu said the only authoritative information cause is coming from the investigation team.

China Eastern Airlines has temporarily grounded 233 Boeing 737-800 aircraft and carried out inspections with the highest safety standards to ensure their airworthiness, he said, adding all passenger planes in operation meet the safety and airworthiness standards of the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

18:16 2022-03-24
Main impact site of airliner crash found
The Guangxi Fire and Rescue Brigade works at the main crash site on March 22, 2022. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

The main impact site of the crashed China Eastern Airlines passenger jet has been located and over 180 pieces of wreckage have been found, authorities said on Thursday.

Most wreckage is scattered within 30 meters of the main point and some are buried up to 20 meters underground, said Zhu Tao, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China's aviation safety office, in a news conference on Thursday.

Among the big pieces that have been found are engine fan blades and turbines, he noted. Investigators have also found remnants of items from the cockpit, including escape ropes and operations manuals.

Flight MU5735 left Kunming, the Yunnan provincial capital, at 1:11 pm on Monday and was scheduled to arrive in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, at 3:05 pm. It crashed in Tengxian county in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region at around 2:20 pm.

The flight was carrying 123 passengers and nine crew members, all Chinese nationals. No survivors have yet been found.

Zheng Xi, head of the Guangxi Fire and Rescue Brigade, said rescuers have found 183 pieces of wreckage and 21 pieces of victims' belongings as of 4 pm Thursday. Some human remains were also found.

All discoveries have been handed to investigation teams, he said.

Rescuers drain water from areas near the main crash site in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on March 23, 2022. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Aside from search work, rescuers have been tasked with providing communication support and disinfecting personnel and facilities involved in the mission, he said.

They have also helped investigators drain water from areas near the main crash site, he noted. Monitoring for flammable gas has been carried out regularly.

The steep and densely vegetated terrain near the main impact point has posed some challenges to his team as they enlarged the scope of the search on Thursday, he said.

Firefighters have to carve their way through with shovels and sometimes climb over big stones to proceed, he said. They are also often troubled by snakes and insects after heavy rainfall.

17:35 2022-03-24
Black box data downloading and analysis work underway: official

The recovered black box of the China Eastern Airlines plane that crashed Monday in south China with 132 people aboard was sent to a decoding laboratory in Beijing Wednesday night and the data downloading and analysis work is underway, an aviation official told a press briefing Thursday.

13:21 2022-03-24
Rescuers clearing rain-triggered landslide debris at plane crash site
Rescuers at a plane crash site in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, March 23, 2022. [Photo by Dong Tianjian/For chinadaily.com.cn]

NANNING -- Rescuers have been braving the rain to clear landslide debris and waterlogging while continuing the search and rescue work at the site where a passenger plane with 132 people aboard crashed in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region Monday afternoon.

"We are continuing to search for survivors at our best. Our search area has been expanded nearly fivefold and we are searching the site thoroughly," said Huang Shangwu, a rescuer with the regional fire and rescue corps.

As of 7 pm Wednesday, the rescuers had searched an area covering about 46,000 square meters.

Huang said hundreds of people are participating in manual searches and drones are used to help with the rescue work.

Meanwhile, there are medical workers standing by at the site to ensure the safety of the rescuers.

It has been raining continuously since Wednesday evening at the crash site of the China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737 aircraft in a mountainous area of Tengxian County, Guangxi.

By 11 am Thursday, rescuers had cleared landslide debris, but the rain-soaked soil continued to make travel on foot difficult. They have laid bamboo frames on the ground to facilitate the rescue work.

In the core area of the accident site, excavators and other equipment are ready to resume work.

The regional meteorological bureau at 8 a.m. Thursday forecast small to moderate rainfall in Tengxian over the next 12 hours, with accumulated rainfall of 5 to 8 mm and a temperature of 12 to 18 degrees Celsius.

The weather is expected to continue to adversely affect the rescue work.

12:27 2022-03-24
Ministry vows to curb safety hazards after plane crash
Passengers board the maiden flight at the Qingdao Jiaodong International Airport in Qingdao, East China's Shandong province, Aug 12, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Ministry of Emergency Management said on Thursday that it will take immediate action to eliminate safety hazards in the civil aviation sector as rescue efforts continue following a recent plane crash.

On Monday afternoon, China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5735 crashed in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. The aircraft was carrying 123 passengers and nine crew members.

Together with the office of the State Council's Work Safety Committee, the ministry has issued a statement asking local authorities, government bodies and institutions to learn from the accident and make all-out efforts to rule out safety hazards in different sectors.

They should "resolutely curb the occurrence of especially serious accidents", the ministry said in a media release.

In China, such accidents usually refer to those that claim more than 30 lives, seriously injure over 100 people or cause economic losses that exceed 100 million yuan ($15.7 million).

Action should be taken immediately in the aviation sector, the release said. Furthermore, all hazards should be rectified in a timely manner adhering to a "dynamic clearing strategy".

Companies with outstanding problems will receive administrative penalties, it said. Under certain circumstances, the ministry will dispatch work groups to help them rectify problems, and their violations will be made public.

The statement also urged civil aviation companies to establish or improve their major risk control mechanisms and beef up their risk control capabilities in all work procedures to ensure "absolute safety".

09:00 2022-03-24
Rescuers search for the second black box
Rescuers search for the second black box with flight data at a plane crash site in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on the night of March 23, 2022. [Photo by Dong Tianjian/For chinadaily.com.cn]

 

 

Rescuers search for the second black box with flight data at a plane crash site in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on the night of March 23, 2022. [Photo by Dong Tianjian/For chinadaily.com.cn]
Rescuers search for the second black box with flight data at a plane crash site in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region on the night of March 23, 2022. [Photo by Dong Tianjian/For chinadaily.com.cn]
Rescuers at a plane crash site in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, March 23, 2022. [Photo by Dong Tianjian/For chinadaily.com.cn]
Rescuers at a plane crash site in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, March 23, 2022. [Photo by Dong Tianjian/For chinadaily.com.cn]
07:18 2022-03-24
Crashed aircraft's black box found
A screen grab from China Central Television shows a black box from the China Eastern Airlines plane that crashed on Monday in Tengxian, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Item believed to be cockpit voice recorder; search continues for one with flight data

One black box of the China Eastern Airlines jet that crashed on Monday in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region was found on Wednesday. In addition, human tissue was found at the crash site.

The black box, one of two on the jet, was preliminarily identified as the cockpit voice recorder.

It was found under surface soil 20 meters southeast of the point of impact at about 4:30 pm on Wednesday, Zhu Tao, head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China's aviation safety office, said at a news conference of the search and rescue command center in Wuzhou, Guangxi, on Wednesday evening.

A preliminary examination at the crash site showed the black box's exterior to be severely damaged, Zhu said.

"Its data storage unit is intact but with damage. We believe it's the cockpit voice recorder," he said, adding that it has been sent to Beijing for decoding, which may take some time depending on the severity of the damage.

Flight MU5735 left Kunming, Yunnan province, at 1:11 pm on Monday with 132 people on board. It was scheduled to arrive in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, at 3:05 pm. Air traffic controllers lost track of the airliner over Wuzhou at 2:21 pm.

Pieces of the plane's wreckage and some human tissue were recovered at the crash site near the village of Molang, Tengxian county. They have been handed over to the investigation team, Zheng Xi, head of the Guangxi Fire and Rescue Brigade, said at the news conference.

Heavy rain on Wednesday had temporarily affected the search and rescue operations, Zheng said.

As of Wednesday evening, no survivors had been found.

At an earlier news conference on Wednesday, Mao Yanfeng, director of the CAAC's disaster investigation agency, said the team hoped that by recovering both flight recorders as soon as possible, they could learn what caused the crash.

"This type of accident is rarely seen. The aircraft suddenly began to drop sharply at high speed while it was cruising." Mao said.

Mao said the Boeing 737-800 had two black boxes, its flight recorders, which were made by Honeywell in the United States. One, the flight data recorder, located at the back the cabin, could record 25 hours of about 1,000 parameters of flight data, including altitude, speed, direction and how the crew operated the aircraft. The search continued for that black box.

The other, he said, is a cockpit voice recorder, which would be at the back of the cargo hold. It could record for two to three hours anything said in the cockpit as well as ambient sounds.

Mao said the weather was good along Flight MU5735's route. Before the airliner began to plunge, the flight crew maintained normal communication with air traffic controllers.

Sun Shiying, chairman of China Eastern's Yunnan branch, said at the same news conference that the pilot and two co-pilots were in good health and qualified to fly the aircraft.

The pilot was hired as captain of the Boeing 737 in January 2018. He had 6,709 flight hours' experience. The first co-pilot had 31,769 flight hours and the second co-pilot 556 flight hours, Sun said.

"In addition, the performance of the three pilots had been good in the past and their families were also harmonious," Sun added. "Also, the plane met all the maintenance requirements before takeoff."

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