Recovery teams in China find part of an engine of the China Eastern Airliner

Mar 24, 2022: According to a report by AFP, recovery teams deployed drones and thermal imaging equipment Thursday across a mountainous area where a China Eastern plane crashed with 132 people on board.

As per a Reuters repor, recovery teams in China have found part of an engine of the China Eastern Airlines passenger plane that plunged into a mountainside with 132 people on board, as they search for the aircraft’s second black box through mud and rain.

In what could be China’s worst air disaster in almost three decades, Flight MU5735 plowed into a rugged area near Vizhou in southern China. Chinese authorities said the pilots did not respond to repeated calls from air traffic controllers during the rapid descent.

Four days on and authorities have not yet officially confirmed the deaths of all 123 passengers and nine crew members. The momentum of the crash cut deep wounds in the muddy ground and the plane’s parts and passengers’ belongings were scattered over a wide area, shattering hopes of finding survivors.

Nevertheless, scores of firefighters, paramilitary police and reporters trudge across the rough terrain to where eviscerated chunks of jet have been found. No survivors have been found, but officials on Wednesday said human tissue had been found.

The “mission is mainly focused on searching for victims and saving lives,” Huang Shangwu, of Guangxi Fire and Rescue Force told reporters, citing instructions “from headquarters.”

“We are using thermal imagers and life detectors to search the surface… we also use manual searches and aerial drones.”

Officials late Wednesday said human remains have been found, but on the ground searchers have not ruled out finding survivors trapped on the densely forested, mud-slicked slopes.

In addition to the recovery mission focused on survivors, teams continue to look for the remaining black box or the flight data recorder. The cockpit voice recorder was found yesterday and has since been dispatched to Beijing for analysis.

Aviation authorities have said the captain of the ill-fated jet had more than 6,700 hours of flight experience and the first co-pilot had more than 31,000 hours of flight time. There was a second co-pilot on board, with more than 550 hours of flight time – all three were in good health with no known personal problems.

The black boxes together are expected to yield clues as to why the Boeing plane – flying between Kunming and Guangzhou – dropped tens of thousands of feet in just minutes.

According to tracking website FlightRadar24, the plane rapidly dropped from 29,100 to 7,850 fee of altitude in just over a minute.

The crash provoked an unusually swift public response from President Xi Jinping who ordered a probe into its cause, as aviation authorities vowed an extensive two-week check-up of China’s vast passenger fleet.

The safety message has rippled out across sectors after the MU5735 crash. A notice from the State Council and Ministry of Emergency Management on Wednesday called for industries across the board to “rectify potential safety hazards”.

Meanwhile, Boeing, a U.S aviation giant were also waiting for clearance to enter China, according to the U.S National Transportation Safety Board.

China is leading an investigation into the crash, but the United States has been invited to take part because the plane was designed and built there. The two engines were built by CFM International, a joint venture between GE and Safran, to develop a single engine for the 737-800.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday it has not yet determined whether investigators will travel to China in light of strict visa and quarantine requirements.

“We are working with the Department of State to address those issues with the Chinese government before any travel will be determined,” it told AFP Thursday in a statement.

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