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Recovery operation underway following fatal China Eastern crash

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr/Andrew W. Sieber

A recovery operation is underway in the mountains of Guangxi, China, where a China Eastern flight came down on Monday. All 132 passengers and crew are thought to have been killed in the crash, with the cause yet to be established. The Civil Aviation Administration of China says the flight crew did not respond to repeated attempts by air traffic controllers to contact the aircraft during its rapid descent.

According to a Reuters report, flight MU5735 was travelling from the city of Guangzhou to Kunming, plunging to the ground from cruising altitude less than an hour before it was due to land. Zhu Tao from the CAAC says the jet was so severely damaged by the impact of the crash that establishing the cause of the crash will be difficult.

“The jet was seriously damaged during the crash, and investigations will face a very high level of difficulty. Given the information currently available, we still do not have a clear assessment of the cause for the crash.”

Rescue workers, including 600 soldiers, firefighters, and police, are searching heavily forested areas in the mountains, in an attempt to locate victims and the aircraft’s flight recorders. Chinese state television has broadcast footage of plane debris scattered among fire-damaged trees. Charred wallets and identity cards have also been found.

The aircraft, a Boeing 737-800, was delivered to China Eastern in June 2015 and had accumulated 18,239 hours of flight time, after 8,986 flights. The accident comes as Boeing tries to rebound from the Boeing 737 MAX crisis, following 2 fatal accidents with that aircraft, as well as the pandemic’s impact on the aviation sector. Following Monday’s accident, China Eastern and 2 subsidiaries grounded all 225 of its 737-800 aircraft.

Dan Elwell, former boss at the US Federal Aviation Administration, says it’s rare for mechanical failures to occur at cruising altitude.

“Accidents that start at cruise altitude are usually caused by weather, deliberate sabotage, or pilot error.”

SOURCE: Reuters

Recovery operation underway following fatal China Eastern crash | News by Thaiger

 

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