Search finds 49,000 pieces of plane in China crash

Published April 1, 2022
In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, search and rescue workers search through debris at the China Eastern flight crash site in Tengxian County in southern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on March 24. — AP
In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, search and rescue workers search through debris at the China Eastern flight crash site in Tengxian County in southern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on March 24. — AP

BEIJING: Chinese officials said on Thursday that the search for wreckage in last week’s crash of a China Eastern Boeing 737-800 is basically done and that more than 49,000 pieces of debris had been found.

Flight MU5735 plunged from 29,000 feet (8,800 metres) into a mountainside in southern China’s Guangxi region, killing all 132 people on board. The impact created a 20-metre-deep crater, set off a fire in the surrounding forest and smashed the plane into small parts scattered over a wide area, some of them buried underground.

Zhu Tao, the director of aviation safety for the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said at a news conference in the nearby city of Wuzhou that important parts including the horizontal stabilizer, engine and remains of the right wing tip had been recovered after nearly 10 days of searching, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.

The investigation into the cause of the crash faces several challenges including that the plane plunged without warning, air traffic controllers got no reply from the pilots after it started falling and the pieces of debris are so small.

More than 22,000 cubic metres (800,000 cubic feet) of soil were excavated and 49,117 pieces of the plane found, said Zhang Zhiwen, an official with the Guangxi government. The search was made more difficult by rain and muddy conditions in the remote and steep location.

The two black boxes the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder have been found and sent to Beijing for examination and analysis. Zhu said a preliminary investigation report would be completed within 30 days of the March 21 crash.

A team of US investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and advisers from Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration have been granted visas to travel to China to take part in the investigation, under longstanding international agreements.

Engine manufacturer CFM will support the investigation but not send anyone to China, the NTSB said, correcting an earlier announcement that company representatives would be part of the traveling team.

The China Eastern flight, with 123 passengers and nine crew members, was headed from the southwestern city of Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, to Guangzhou, a major city and export manufacturing hub near Hong Kong in southeastern China.

Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Beyond the pale
Updated 09 Aug, 2022

Beyond the pale

When such ugliness is unleashed, everyone at some point suffers the fallout.
Burying Gaza
Updated 10 Aug, 2022

Burying Gaza

One fails to understand how the senseless killing of a child can be brushed so coldly under the carpet.
Celebrate the athlete
09 Aug, 2022

Celebrate the athlete

TALK about delivering on your promise: javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem did that in the grandest style at the...
An unseemly dispute
08 Aug, 2022

An unseemly dispute

THERE is clarity, but perhaps not of the kind that Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial hoped to achieve when...
Unfair on taxpayers
Updated 08 Aug, 2022

Unfair on taxpayers

Unfair move has drawn valid criticism as it coincides with drastic increase in income tax on salaried people and corporates.
Polio nightmare
08 Aug, 2022

Polio nightmare

AS if the resurgence of polio in southern KP were not enough, officials and international monitoring bodies must now...