Flight MU5735 crashed off 29,000 feet on a hillside in southern China’s Guangxi region, killing all 132 people on board. The crash created a 65-foot-deep crater, ignited a fire in the surrounding forest and shattered the plane into small pieces scattered over a wide area, some of which were buried underground.
Zhu Tao, aviation security director for China Civil Aviation Authority, told a news conference in nearby Wuzhou that important parts, such as the horizontal stabilizer, the engine and the remnants of the right wing, were recovered after almost 10 days. research, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
The investigation into the causes of the crash faces many challenges, such as the fact that the plane sank without warning, the air traffic controllers received no response from the pilots as it started to fall and the pieces of debris are so small.
More than 800,000 cubic feet of soil were excavated and 49,117 pieces of the plane were found, said Zhang Zhiwen, a Guangxi government official. The search became more difficult due to rain and mud in the remote and steep location.
The two “black boxes” – the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder – were found and sent to Beijing for testing and analysis. Zhou said a preliminary investigation report would be completed within 30 days of the March 21 crash.
A team of US researchers from the National Transportation Security Council and advisers from Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration have been granted visas to travel to China to take part in the investigation, under long-standing international agreements.
The CFM engine maker will support the investigation but will not send anyone to China, the NTSB said, correcting an earlier announcement that company representatives would be part of the travel team.
The China Eastern flight, with 123 passengers and nine crew members, was en route from southwest Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, to Guangzhou, a major city and export hub near Hong Kong in southeast China.
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