WUXHOU (Times Of Ocean)- The search area for the second black box from the China Eastern passenger jet that crashed earlier this week in southern China with 132 people on board was expanded Thursday, state broadcaster CCTV reported.
For the second day in a row, the search was hampered by of-and-on rain. On Wednesday, a black box believed to be the cockpit voice recorder was found. Investigators said the orange cylinder was relatively intact despite the damage to the outer casing.
The Boeing 737-800 was cruising at 29,000 feet (8,800 meters) when it suddenly nose-dived into a remote mountainous area on Monday, igniting a forest fire that could be seen on NASA satellite images. There are no survivors.
The heavily forested and steep slopes have been combed with hand tools, metal detectors, drones, and sniffer dogs. Wallets, identification cards, and human remains have been found.
On Thursday, CTV news showed police in olive- and dark-colored rain gear standing in a cleared area, some with bare or white-gloved hands holding long-handled tools that appeared to be shovels and sickles. All of them wore surgical masks.
Recovering the black boxes – which are usually painted orange for visibility – is thought to be crucial to determining what caused the crash.
The cockpit voice recorder can record voices, audio alerts, and background sounds from an engine or even a switch being pressed. In addition to tracking the plane’s airspeed, altitude, and direction up and down, the flight data recorder also records important information about the pilot and the plane’s systems.
It is too early to speculate on the cause, according to investigators. A controller contacted the pilots several times after seeing the plane’s altitude drop sharply, but they did not respond, officials said.
China Eastern was flying from Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, to Guangzhou, a major city and manufacturing hub on China’s southeastern coast. Shanghai-based China Eastern is one of China’s four major airlines.