China plane crash: US NTSB helps upload voice recording

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said on Friday it was helping Chinese investigators download the cockpit voice recorder to Washington from a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 as he was sending a team of investigators to China.

The US safety board told Reuters it was assisting the Civil Aviation Administration of China “with the uploading of the cockpit voice recorder of China Eastern Flight 5735 to our lab in Washington.”

China’s decision to send a key piece of evidence to Washington for help shows the urgency of the investigation at a time when two nations are at odds on other issues.

The plane crashed into a mountainside in southern China on March 21, killing all 132 people on board and was the deadliest air disaster in mainland China in 28 years. On Sunday, recovery teams found the second black box – the flight data recorder – in the wreckage.

The cockpit voice recorder will likely provide investigators with details of communications between the flight’s three pilots, one more than is normally required on board the Boeing aircraft.

Earlier Friday, the NTSB said a team of three investigators left for China to help investigate the crash. The NTSB said “investigators will limit interactions with anyone outside of the investigation, such as security protocols at the Beijing Olympics, allowing them to begin work immediately without quarantine.”

The team includes Accredited U.S. Representative Sathya Silva, who is an NTSB Senior Aviation Accident Investigator.

An NTSB spokesperson said the US team was traveling on a commercial flight. It was unclear whether the team would travel to the crash site in China and how long the team would stay in China, but it could take several weeks.

The NTSB also said a small team from Boeing was also traveling to China to help with the investigation.

CAAC News, a publication of China’s aviation regulator, said on Saturday the group of seven NTSB investigators and technical advisers had arrived in China.

Under an international agreement, the NTSB has the right to participate since the aircraft was designed and built in the United States.

On Thursday, Chinese state media said the cause of the accident should be determined as soon as possible, following a meeting of China’s top decision-making body led by President Xi Jinping.

Information about the accident should be released in an open, timely and transparent manner, state media said in a report on the meeting of the seven-person Standing Committee of the Communist Party’s Politburo, China’s top leadership. .

A nationwide safety inspection should also be launched to prevent the occurrence of safety accidents as much as possible, state media said. If accidents occur due to negligence, not only the personnel responsible will be punished, but the senior officials involved will also be investigated, state media said.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler, David Gregorio, Kirsten Donovan

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