How far have we learned about the China Eastern Plane crash?

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Angana Pal Chinya

On Monday 21st March 2022, a China Eastern Flight MU5735 plunged into a mountainside with 132 people including nine crew members on board who were presumed dead. An explosion followed as the Boeing 737-800 jet hit the ground at high speed, thousands of feet per minute in Wuzou, Southern China. Almost no remains of the plane or its passengers were found on the spot. After tipping into a deadly nosedive, the plane was unable to respond to air traffic controllers’ calls, authorities said. Search parties have been sent to particular regions but the wet weather restricted them. “By 11 am local time on 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,” the Xinhua report said. This was one of the most dreadful air accidents that had taken place in China in over a decade.

On Wednesday, during searches of the Wuzhou mountains, and the Guangxi Province, the search parties have found charred wreckage, belongings scattered, and human remains. In the process, they also discovered a pivotal piece of information that’s crucial to the investigation – one of two so-called black boxes, the flight data, and recordings. Its recordings were intact despite external damage to the cockpit voice recorder. They have been sent to Beijing for analysis, the official said.

As of now, the investigators have found nothing that was awry of the nosedive. But the focus shifts to the black boxes that are to be investigated. One black box – the flight data recorder – has not yet been recovered. This would certainly provide more information on control settings, air data, and other factors that may help to resolve mechanical issues.

Boeing in a message to the employees mentions “deeply saddened” and has been in “close communication with customers and regulatory authorities since the accident. 

The Chinese have invited US aviation experts to join the investigation since the Boeing plane was manufactured in the United States. During the recovery mission near Wuzhou, more than 600 workers and volunteers are battling heavy rains and flooding.