China inspects cockpit voice recorder from crashed plane

WUZHOU, China, March 24 (Reuters) – Chinese investigators have begun examining the cockpit voice recorder of a China Eastern Airlines flight. (600115SS) A jet with 132 people on board crashed into a mountain on Thursday as rescue crews searched for a second black box in a muddy field.

A recording material from the first black box found on Wednesday appeared to have survived relatively well from the impact of Monday’s crash, a Chinese Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC) official said. read more

Cockpit Voice Recorder provides investigators with details of communications between the three pilots of the aircraft, one more than is usually required on a Boeing. (BA.N) 737-800 Flight.

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The search for the aircraft’s data recorder continued.

Debris from the jetliner, including engine blades, horizontal tail stabilizers and other wing debris, piled up within 30 meters of the main impact point at a depth of 20 meters.

A 1.3-meter-long piece suspected to have been on the plane was found about 10 km away, which prompted a significant expansion of the search area, officials told a news conference.

No survivors have been found, and experts say no one can escape such an impact.

Flight MU5735 was en route from the southwestern city of Kunming to Guangzhou on the coast when it suddenly fell from a height just as it was about to start landing towards its destination.

The investigation is being conducted by China, but the United States was invited to participate because the aircraft was designed and manufactured there.

However, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday it had not determined whether investigators would travel to China based on strict visa and isolation requirements, and Chinese officials declined to say when NTSB officials would be called.

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“Our mission is still a priority in search and rescue, while at the initial stage of the crash investigation we carry out evidence collection and repair work,” said Zhu Tao, CAAC’s head of aviation security.

However, when entering the accident investigation stage, we will invite the concerned parties to participate in the accident investigation as per the relevant rules, ”he said.

Slow search

According to the Flight Radar 24 air surveillance website, the plane appeared to have exited its nose before sinking again on a hilly forested slope in Guangxi.

Authorities said the pilots did not respond to repeated calls from air traffic controllers while landing fast.

Detecting the cause of an accident is very quick, experts say, which is usually the result of a combination of factors.

“The difficulty now is that we are eager to find the survivors as soon as possible, but our mission is to search carefully and slowly,” said Huang Shanghu, deputy director of the Guangxi Fire and Rescue Force’s training training office. .

Search teams used thermal imaging cameras and life-saving devices and drones.

Of the more than 1,600 people involved in the search operation on Thursday, “the search area was very large and two days of rain made the path very slippery,” Zhou said.

The plane’s captain had 6,709 hours of flying experience, while the first and second officers flew 31,769 hours and 556 hours, respectively, a Chinese Eastern official said Wednesday. A co-pilot was an observer to create the experience, the airline said without disclosing the names of the pilots.

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Phoenix Weekly quoted an aviation expert as saying that the captain was Yang Hongda, the son of a former Chinese East captain, and that the first officer was Zhang Zhengping, a pilot with 40 years of experience as a mentor to other pilots.

The 32-year-old Yang has a one-year-old daughter, and Zhang, 59, is a senior pilot with impeccable safety record and is expected to retire this year, the Southern Weekly reported. Another media outlet, Jimu News, identified the second most inexperienced officer as Ni Kongtao, 27.

China did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Eastern reports.

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Additional reporting by Brenda Ko in Shanghai, Ryan Woo, Stella Q in Beijing, Ella Cao and Xiu Yin and David Shepherdson in Washington; Written by Jamie Fried and Tony Monroe; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore, Robert Brussel

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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