July 1, 2022

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Rescue teams search for traces of passengers on a plane crash in China

Rescue teams search for traces of passengers on a plane crash in China

First Amendment:

Wuzhou (China) (AFP) – Rescue teams battled rain and mud on Tuesday to search for traces of the 132 people on board the eastern Chinese Boeing 737 that crashed in a mountainous area in southwest China after falling for a few minutes.

Hopes of finding survivors faded almost a day after the crash of the Boeing 737-800, which may be China’s deadliest air disaster in nearly three decades.

Meanwhile, questions are piling up about why the ship, which lost more than 26,000 feet (about 8,000 meters) in just three minutes, crashed before crashing into the side of a mountain on Monday afternoon.

The airline acknowledged that people on board the flight, which linked the city of Kunming (southwest) with Guangzhou (south), died, but did not provide further details.

President Xi Jinping called for a thorough investigation so that “the causes of the accident can be determined as soon as possible.”

Rescue teams, firefighters and other emergency personnel rushed to the rural area of ​​Guangxi District, where the fire occurred.

Rescuers told AFP that the remains of the burning plane and the aftermath of the fire it caused appeared on Tuesday. One speculated that the passengers had been “completely burned” by the intensity of the flames.

A local resident, who only gave his last name Ou, recounted that he heard a “roar like thunder” on Monday afternoon, followed by a violent explosion in the surrounding hills.

Official media showed the uniformed rescue teams climbing the ground rocked by the fall of the plane, among the killed trees and debris from the plane, including a part of the plane bearing the pink and blue airline logo.

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Other images showed operators operating drones to facilitate research in this steep terrain and under thick vegetation.

The disaster occurred after a sharp deterioration, according to videos published by Chinese media, which AFP could not immediately verify.

The photo taken on March 21, 2022 shows the wreckage of the crashed East China plane with 132 people on board in the southern Guangxi region. STR AFP

In Guangzhou, airline staff helped the families of 123 passengers and nine crew members on board.

‘Not at all unusual’ data

According to a statement issued by the China Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC), flight MU5735, which took off from Kunming shortly after 1:00 p.m. (0500 GMT), “lost contact while flying over Wuzhou.”

“The company expresses its sincere condolences to the passengers and crew who died in the plane crash,” China Eastern said in a statement Monday evening, without providing further information.

The disaster led to an unusually quick reaction from Xi Jinping, who said he was “shocked”.

State media said Vice Premier Liu He, a senior official close to Xi who often deals with economic issues, has been sent to the area to oversee rescue efforts and investigations.

The US National Transportation Safety Board noted that it has appointed an expert investigator as its representative in the investigations and that officials from Boeing, General Electric and the Federal Aviation Administration will serve as technical advisors.

Screenshot from ESN/China Fire video via AFPTV showing an aerial view of the China Eastern plane crash site in southern Guangxi Province.
Screenshot from ESN/China Fire video via AFPTV showing an aerial view of the China Eastern plane crash site in southern Guangxi Province. STR AFP

According to specialist flight tracker FlightRadar24, the plane lost nearly 21,250 feet (6,477 meters) in just one minute before disappearing from radar screens.

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Then, after a short ascent, it fell again, at an altitude of 1410 meters, according to the tracker, to 983 meters above the ground. She disappeared from radar at 2:22 pm (0622 GMT).

Jean-Paul Tredec, former director of France’s Office of Aviation Safety Research and Analysis, told AFP it was “too early” to draw any conclusions, but FlightRadar’s data was “very unusual”.

In recent years, China has been distinguished by its enviable aviation safety standards, despite the rapid and extensive growth of the sector in recent decades.

And state media indicated that the airline will stop operating all of its Boeing 737-800 models.

The US manufacturer said in a statement that it was trying to “gather more information” and work with its customers.

The deadliest Chinese commercial airline crash was the 1994 China Northwest Airlines crash, which killed all 160 people on board.

burs-dma / apj / oho / dbh / mis