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MU5735: HEAT AND COVID-19 PREVENTION HAMPER SEARCH FOR SECOND BLACK BOX

Hundreds of armed police, firefighters and militia are scouring the muddy crash site of a plane with 132 people on board
Emergency workers comb through the wreckage in PPE to prevent coronavirus transmission


Humid weather and Covid-19 prevention measures are complicating an extensive search for the second black box of a plane that crashed in a mountainous area in southern China on Monday.


DCO Global News
Published on March 25, 2022
By Odoh Dominic Chukwuemeka


Orange debris believed to be from one of two black boxes on the China Eastern Airlines aircraft was recovered on Friday morning in the terraced fields of Teng county in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, four days after the flight with 132 people aboard crashed in China’s worst aviation disaster in more than a decade.


No survivors have been found in the search, involving hundreds of armed police, firefighters and militia. Wreckage recovered in the past few days includes parts of an engine blade, turbine and wings of the Boeing 737-800. A black box, the cockpit voice recorder, was found on Wednesday and has been sent to a laboratory in Beijing for analysis.


Chinese media on Friday retracted earlier reports that the second black box had been found, swiftly deleting the claim and clarifying that it had not yet been located.

The possible find was first reported on Friday by CAAC News, a newspaper run by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, on its WeChat and Weibo accounts and shared by other state media outlets. It later apologised, saying the report was inaccurate.


Searchers are looking for the flight data recorder to shed light on why the aircraft nosedived before impact. The device stores information such as flight path, speed, altitude and engine power and can reveal whether human error or instrument problems contributed to the crash.


However, heat and stringent Covid-19 prevention measures are adding to the difficulty of the search at the site, a hilly area of more than 5.8 hectares (14.3 acres).


State broadcaster CCTV aired footage of emergency workers in masks, protective suits and boots scouring the muddy hills on Friday after torrential rain and a landslide a day earlier. By noon, the temperature at the site was already around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit).


“It’s very muggy today,” a CCTV host reported from the scene. “Given the rain and high temperature, Covid-19 prevention is very important.


So everyone working on the scene wears protective suits.” Citing an unnamed expert, the host said: “It’s likely the second black box is somewhere near the place the orange debris was recovered.”


By Odoh Dominic Chukwuemeka

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