Rescuers working at the crash site of a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 have found one of the flight recorders, reports The Guardian. The plane with 132 passengers on board crashed in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Monday. The Boeing fell from a height of more than 6,000 meters, almost completely collapsing on impact with the ground and causing a huge fire at the crash site in bamboo thickets. All these circumstances mean that the investigation of the causes of what happened will be very difficult. It is not yet known which of the recorders that the planes are equipped with: one of them records flight data, the other records audio of what is happening in the cockpit, has been found. However, it is reported to be "heavily damaged".
Flight MU5735 was bound for the port city of Guangzhou on Monday from Kunming, the capital of southwestern Yunnan province. Less than an hour before the scheduled landing time, he fell from cruising altitude and crashed in a mountainous and wooded area. Chinese media published a video taken by the camera of a nearby car, which shows that the plane, as if diving, falls at an angle of 35 degrees from the vertical, that is, 55 degrees from the horizon.
Aviation Safety Director of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) Zhu Tao said the plane reportedly changed its flight path before the crash, stopped responding to calls from air traffic controllers, and crashed after a short time. “Given the information currently available, we still do not have a clear assessment of the cause of the crash,” said Zhu Tao. At the same time, according to representatives of China Eastern Airlines, the aircraft met all airworthiness standards, the technical conditions were stable, the crew members were in good shape, and their flight experience met the regulatory requirements.
According to an outside expert, former head of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Dan Elwell, plane crashes that fall from cruising altitude are usually due to weather conditions, an incident on board, or pilot error. Technical failures in modern commercial aircraft in such cases are rare. US authorities are going to assist in investigating the causes of the crash, since the crashed plane was of American manufacture.