China Eastern plane crash: 132 dead, no survivors; black box found

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The exterior of the black box from the crashed China Eastern Airlines passenger plane recovered on Wednesday was severely damaged, and it was initially believed as the cockpit voice recorder, Zhu Tao, head of the aviation safety office of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), told a press briefing Wednesday night.

Heavy rain is hampering the search for human remains and the second black box from the plane that crashed into a mountainside in the southern Guangxi region on Monday.

One of two black boxes from the China Eastern plane that crashed on Monday has been found severely damaged, investigators have said.

Mud-stained wallets. Bank cards. Official identity cards. Search continued, but no survivors have been found among the 123 passengers and nine crew members.

“Wreckage of the plane was found at the scene, but up until now, none of those aboard the plane with whom contact was lost have been found,” state broadcaster CCTV said more than 18 hours after the crash.

Video captured the China Eastern Boeing 737-800 in a near-vertical nose-dive before it crashed near the city of Wuzhou in the Guangxi region.

The crash created a deep pit in the mountainside, Xinhua news agency reported, citing rescuers.

The flight was travelling from Kunming in the southwestern province of Yunnan to the industrial centre of Guangzhou along the east coast, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said.

China Eastern flight 5735 had been travelling 842kp/h at around 9144 metres when it entered a steep dive around 2:20 pm local time, according to data from flight-tracking website FlightRadar24.com.

The plane stopped transmitting data 96 seconds later.

The aircraft was delivered to the airliner from Boeing in June 2015 and had been flying for more than six years. China Eastern Airlines uses the Boeing 737-800 as a workhorse of its fleet — the airline has more than 600 planes, and 109 are Boeing 737-800s.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for an “all-out effort” by the rescue operation, as well as for an investigation into the crash and to ensure complete civil aviation safety.

State media reported all 737-800s in China Eastern’s fleet were ordered grounded. Aviation experts said it is unusual to ground an entire fleet of planes unless there is evidence of a problem with the model.

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