Searchers find wing and engine parts at tragedy site

Three days after the crash, larger pieces of debris were found, including engine components and a white wing section with the red and blue China Eastern logo on it, state broadcaster CCTV said.

Soldiers hold shovels as they prepare to drive to the crash site of China Eastern Flight 5735 to search for the black box, Thursday, March 24, 2022, in Molang village, Guangxi province, in southwest China. The search area was widened on Thursday during a ‘general search’ of the second black box of a China Eastern passenger plane that crashed in southern China with 132 people on board earlier this week , state media said. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Wuzhou: Hundreds of searchers wearing rubber boots and full rain gear headed to muddy, forested hills in southern China on Thursday to try to find the second black box from an eastern China jetliner. Chine which crashed in southern China with 132 people on board earlier this week.

Three days after the crash, larger debris was discovered for the first time, including engine components and a white wing section bearing China Eastern’s red and blue logo, state broadcaster CCTV said.

One of the black boxes, believed to be the cockpit voice recorder, was found on Wednesday. Its outer casing was damaged but the orange cylinder was relatively intact, investigators said.

Pumps were used to drain a pool of water as intermittent light rain hampered the search effort for a second straight day. More than 300 searchers attended, said Huang Shangwu, deputy chief of Guangxi’s fire and rescue department.

“Yesterday’s water pumping contributed greatly to the discovery of the black box,” Huang told reporters at a command center inside a large restricted area that has been blocked off by authorities.

The Boeing 737-800 was cruising at 29,000 feet (8,800 meters) when it suddenly plunged into a remote mountainous region on Monday, sparking a fire in the surrounding forest, visible in NASA satellite images.

No survivors were found.

Foreign media were escorted to the area for the first time on Thursday. Police and other parked vehicles lined the highway in the area, and reporters were driven down small marshy roads covered in red-brown mud to the command center.

When they passed a tearful woman walking away, security guards used open umbrellas to prevent reporters from filming from their vehicles.

The researchers used hand tools, metal detectors, drones and sniffer dogs to comb through the heavily forested and steep slopes. Wallets, identity and bank cards and human remains were found.

CCTV news showed police in olive and dark-colored rain gear standing in an open area on Thursday, some with bare hands or white gloves on long-handled tools that appear to be shovels or sickles. They all wore surgical masks.

The recovery of the so-called black boxes – they are usually painted orange for visibility – is considered essential in determining the cause of the accident.

Cockpit voice recorders can capture voices, audio alerts and background noises from the engine or even moving switches. The flight data recorder stores information about the aircraft’s speed, altitude, and up or down direction, as well as pilot actions and the performance of important systems.

Investigators said it was too early to speculate on the cause. An air traffic controller tried to contact the pilots several times after seeing the plane’s altitude drop sharply, but got no response, officials said.

The China Eastern flight was heading from Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, to Guangzhou, a major city and export manufacturing center on China’s southeast coast. China Eastern, headquartered in Shanghai, is one of China’s four major airlines.

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