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First Victims Found From Boeing 737 China Plane Crash

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First Victims Found From Boeing 737 China Plane Crash

The first victims from the recent Boeing 737 plane crash in China have been found, along with one of the plane's black boxes, officials have confirmed.

The China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 was travelling from Kunming, Yunnan province in western China, to Guangzhou, Guangdong province, when it crashed into mountains near Wuzhou, Guangxi province. Flight data recorded by Flightradar24 appeared to show the aircraft suddenly lose altitude at around 2.22pm local time (6.22am GMT), roughly 40 minutes before it was due to land in Guangzhou.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China later confirmed that flight number MU5735 had crashed with nine crew members and 123 passengers on board. 

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Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Zheng Xi, head of the fire and rescue service in the Guangxi autonomous region, told reporters that the first victims have now been found, after human remains were recovered on Wednesday (23 March). Wallets and identity bank cards have also been found in the search. 

This development will help provide 'important evidence' as to what caused the incident, the officials added.

“The area is overgrown with weeds and the terrain is steep,” Xi said, adding: “With the rain, visibility has been poor, introducing a certain degree of difficulty into the rescue operation.” 

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Investigators have also discovered what they believe to be the cockpit voice recorder in the wreckage – one of two black boxes aboard the plane – with Zhu Tao, director of the Office of Aviation Safety at the Civil Aviation Authority of China, saying it will be sent to Beijing for decoding and analysis. How long that will take depends on the degree of damage the unit suffered, he explained, adding: “This will provide important evidence as to the cause of the accident." 

One of the two black boxes of the crashed plane. Credit: Alamy
One of the two black boxes of the crashed plane. Credit: Alamy

The search team have been using equipment such as metal detectors and drones, along with sniffer dogs, to comb the heavily-forested mountainside under rainy conditions. Crews also worked to pump water from the pit created when the plane hit the ground, but had to suspend their efforts when there was a concern for small landslides on the steep slopes. 

Details of some of the plane's passengers have begun to emerge in Chinese state media, with a man who gave the pseudonym Wang Baiyang telling China Youth Daily that his 26-year-old sister, her husband and their 18-month old daughter were on board – their first-ever flight – travelling to Guangzhou for medical treatment for the child. He said the family had originally been scheduled to fly on an earlier flight, but it was cancelled. 

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“For the past two days, I felt like I had a dream, and I always felt that when I woke up the next day, my sister would call me,” Wang said. “I didn’t think it was real at all, first my grandfather died, and then I heard the news of the flight, and I just froze there and tried to reach my sister through the phone.” 

A retiree from Shenzhen surnamed Zhang told Reuters his nephew had also been on the plane, saying through tears as he visited the crash site: “I hope the country can thoroughly investigate this matter and find out whether it was the manufacturer’s fault or it was a maintenance problem.” 

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Featured Image Credit: Twitter: @TheLegateIN/Alamy

Topics: News, China, World News

Jess Hardiman
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