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Second black box of crashed China Eastern plane recovered

BEIJING (AFP) – The second black box has been recovered from last week’s deadly China Eastern plane crash, state media reported yesterday, and could help solve the mystery of the jet’s breakneck descent.

The Boeing 737-800 was flying between the cities of Kunming and Guangzhou last Monday when it nosedived into a mountainside, disintegrating on impact and killing all 132 people on board.

The cause of the disaster, China’s deadliest plane crash in more than 30 years, is not
yet known.

“The second black box from China Eastern flight MU5735 was recovered on March 27,” Xinhua news agency reported.

Public broadcaster CCTV broadcast images of rescuers recovering an orange-coloured cylinder covered in soil, which was discovered 1.5 metres deep at the roots of a tree.

The plane was equipped with two flight recorders: a cockpit voice recorder and one in the rear passenger cabin tracking flight data.

A worker during a search operation at the crash site. PHOTO: AP

The former was found on Wednesday and sent to Beijing for analysis. The second black box contains data such as speed, altitude and heading.

Hundreds of people, including firefighters, doctors and investigators – some dressed in full body protective suits – remained at the scene of the tragedy yesterday recovering human remains and the wreckage of the plane.

Earthmovers assisted in the operation on the mountainside, which is covered in dense vegetation.

Early recovery efforts were hampered by heavy rain, forcing a temporary pause due to what state media called the “the small risk of landslides” in the large pit that was bored out by the impact of the aircraft. The Boeing 737-800 plane went down near Wuzhou in southern China last Monday afternoon after losing contact with air traffic control.

Tracking website FlightRadar24 showed the jet sharply dropped from an altitude of 29,100 to 7,850 feet in a minute.

After a brief upswing, it dropped again to 3,225 feet, the tracker said. There is no data for the flight after 2.22pm.

The captain had more than 6,700 hours of flight experience and the first co-pilot had more than 31,000 hours of flight time, officials said.

The Chinese Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC) on Saturday evening said that all of the people on board the aircraft had died.

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