DALLAS – The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has confirmed that searchers found one of the two ‘black boxes’ from China Eastern Airlines flight MU5735 that crashed on Monday with 132 people on board in Guangxi, an autonomous region located about 285nm (530km) west of Guangzhou.
In a media briefing held today, the CAAC said that the device found was severely damaged, and it was unclear whether it was the flight data recorder or the cockpit voice recorder.
During the briefing, a China Eastern Airlines spokesperson said that the airline hired the Captain of flight MU5735 in January 2018 and had 6,709 hours of total flying experience. The First and Second Officers had 31,769 hours and 556 hours, respectively.
Flight MU5735 took off from Kunming Airport on Monday, March 21, 2022, at 13:16 local time (05:16 GMT) with 123 passengers and nine crew members. The flight crossed the Guangzhou Flight Information Region (FIR) at 14:17 (06:17 GMT) at about 30,000ft (9,144m). Approximately three minutes later, the aircraft lost altitude rapidly before disappearing from the radar at 14:23 (06:23 GMT).
The account from the CAAC is consistent with aircraft tracking data, which shows that the flight was leveled en route when it plunged to ground level, killing all on board.
China Eastern Airlines confirmed that the Boeing 737-800 involved in the crash met airworthiness requirements before the flight. However, as an emergency reaction, the airline decided to ground the aircraft variant until further notice.
Chinese airlines have had a satisfactory safety record. Feng Zhenglin, Administrator, CAAC, highlighted during a recent safety analysis meeting that Chinese carriers had accumulated 100 million flight hours of safe operations since 2010 when a Henan Airlines flight from Harbin crash-landed in Yichun under poor visibility conditions.
Featured image: The China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 involved in the crash. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways © All rights reserved.