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Heavy Rain Impeded Recovery Of Downed China Eastern Plane

“The plane created a massive trench at the crash site… there is a lot of water in the pit,” said a reporter for state broadcaster CCTV.

WUZHOU: Heavy rains impeded the rescue of a China Eastern flight that nosedived into a mountain with 132 passengers on board on Wednesday, a calamity that has baffled accident investigators who have yet to locate the black boxes.

Although no survivors have been found three days after the accident, officials have hesitated from calling all the passengers dead in what is almost certain to be China’s deadliest plane tragedy in over three decades.

Hundreds of firefighters, officials, and volunteers combed the steep terrain near Wuzhou, China, seeking evidence of the 123 passengers and nine crew members who died after the ill-fated flight MU5735 crashed on Monday afternoon, after losing touch with air traffic control.

Investigators say they need the flight recorders from the Boeing 737-800 to figure out why the plane crashed.

The plane plunged from a height of 29,100 feet (about 8,900 metres) to 7,850 feet (about 2,400 metres) in just over a minute, according to flight-tracking website FlightRadar24.

It sank to 3,225 feet (983 metres) after a brief ascent, according to the tracker.

Rains caused rescuers to halt their search on Wednesday, posing a risk to teams working in a zone defined by pulverised metal, debris, and burnt items.

The rain had destabilised the steep slopes, according to a reporter for state broadcaster CCTV who was granted access to the crash site.

“The plane created a massive trench at the crash site… there is a lot of water in the pit,” the reporter added, adding that drainage work may be required before the search for “lost passengers and black boxes,” can resume.

President Xi Jinping quickly ordered an investigation into the incident, sent senior Communist Party officials, including close ally Vice Premier Liu He, to the scene.

China’s Civil Aviation Administration has announced a two-week safety inspection of the whole industry.

Access to the crash site has been restricted, and they have barred international reporters from communicating with the bereaved relatives who have gathered in Wuzhou.

Officials in military guided a convoy of government-marked vehicles into the restricted zone at a roadside checkpoint north of the crash scene, according to an AFP correspondent, as dozen civilians waited off to one side.

The plane, which was nearly seven years old when it crashed, had satisfied all pre-flight airworthiness criteria, according to China Eastern.

Before drawing any conclusions, aviation authorities indicated that more meticulous evidence collecting was required.

“We cannot make a clear judgement on the reason of the accident until then,” Zhu Tao, director of China’s aviation authority’s aviation safety bureau, told reporters.

Aimen Bukhari
Written By

Works at The Truth International Magazine. My area of interest includes international relations, peace & conflict studies, qualitative & quantitative research in social sciences, and world politics. Reach@ aimen.bukhari@tti.org.pk

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