5 Days After China Eastern Plane Crash, 2nd Black Box Hasn’t Been Found

Five days after the crash of a passenger jet in the mountainous region of southern China, the cause of the disaster remains a mystery. Meanwhile, the search for the second “black box” continued on Friday (25/3).

Hundreds of people, many of them wearing clothes hazmat white, combing around the crash site and larger debris on a steep slope. They searched the box containing flight data records, along with pieces of debris as well as the belongings and body parts of the 132 people on board who died in the crash.

The continuous rain had hindered the search task. The remote location necessitated the use of dogs and hand tools, including the metal detectors more commonly seen at airports.

Wallets, ID cards, bank cards and human remains were found, as were several large pieces of the fuselage and wings.

The China Eastern Boeing 737-800 left a 20-meter-deep hole when it crashed last Monday and officials pumped rainwater out there to make the search easier.

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said talks were ongoing with China about sending experts to participate in the investigation, according to standards that apply when the aircraft involved is American.

“Travel to China is currently limited by visa requirements and quarantine related to COVID. We are working with the State Department to address those issues with the Chinese government before travel can be established,” NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said in a statement.

A member of the rescue team briefs the media near the crash site of China Eastern, Thursday, March 24, 2022, in Molang Village, in southwest China's Guangxi Province.  (Photo: AP)

A member of the rescue team briefs the media near the crash site of China Eastern, Thursday, March 24, 2022, in Molang Village, in southwest China’s Guangxi Province. (Photo: AP)

China Eastern, one of China’s four main airlines, said Thursday that the Shanghai-based airline and its subsidiaries had grounded a total of 223 Boeing 737-800 aircraft while investigating possible safety hazards.

China Eastern previously said the move was a precautionary measure, not a sign that anything was wrong. The airline said the plane that crashed was in good condition and that the crew were experienced and in good health.

The plane that crashed was en route from Kunming, the capital of southwest China’s Yunnan province, to Guangzhou, a major city and export manufacturing center in southeastern China. Authorities said there were no foreign nationals on board the plane. [uh/ab]