A second “black box” has been recovered from the crash of a Boeing 737-800 in eastern China that killed all 132 people on board last week, state media reported on Sunday.
State broadcaster CCTV said firefighters involved in the search found the recorder, an orange cylinder, on a mountain slope 1.5 meters underground. Experts confirmed that it is the second black box. The impact of the impact scattered the debris widely and created a crater 20 meters (65 ft) deep in the side of the mountain.
Researchers were searching for the flight data recorder after finding the cockpit voice recorder four days ago. The recorders should help investigators determine why the plane descended from 29,000 feet (8,800 metres) to a forested mountainside in southern China.
The search for black boxes and plane wreckage is complicated by the remote setup and rainy and muddy conditions. A video posted by CGTN, the international arm of CCTV, showed an official carrying a piece that looked like an orange box at the site with the words “RECORDER” and “NO OPENED” written on it. It looked a little dented, but it was intact.
Flight MU5735 crashed Monday on its way from the southeastern city of Kunming to Guangzhou, a major city and export manufacturing center near Hong Kong. Officials said the air traffic controller tried to contact the pilots several times after noticing the plane’s altitude and sharp landing, but received no response.
The cockpit voice recorder, also an orange cylinder, was found two days later on Wednesday. He was sent to Beijing for examination and analysis.
Hundreds of researchers have been combing the site outside Wuzhou for days with shovels and other hand tools. Construction excavators have been brought in to clear the ground and clear the walkways to the site, and pumps are used to drain the water collected from the rain.
Officials announced late Saturday that there were no survivors among the 123 passengers and nine crew members. They said DNA analysis confirmed the identities of 120 people on board. Researchers found identity cards and bank cards of the victims.
China Eastern, one of China’s four major airlines, and its subsidiaries have ground all of their Boeing 737-800 aircraft, with a total of 223 aircraft. The carrier said the grounding was a precaution and not a sign of any problem with the aircraft.
Boeing said in a statement that a technical team from Boeing is supporting the US National Transportation Safety Board and the Chinese Civil Aviation Administration, which will lead the investigation into the accident.