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Search for answers continues a year after fatal plane crash

By LUO WANGSHU | China Daily | Updated: 2023-03-22 09:33

Photo taken on March 27, 2022 shows the second black box recovered at the crash site of the China Eastern Airlines' plane in Tengxian county, South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. [Photo/Xinhua]

A year on from the fatal crash of China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5735 in a mountainous area of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, the Civil Aviation Administration of China has yet to conclude a final report on the incident.

The investigation into the crash is still ongoing, the aviation authority said ahead of the first anniversary of the tragedy on Monday, due to its complex and unique nature.

The Boeing 737-800 set off from Kunming, Yunnan province, bound for Guangzhou, Guangdong province, on March 21 last year, when it crashed in a mountainous region in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, claiming the lives of all 132 people on board.

The accident ended the national flight safety record of 11 years without a fatal accident on the Chinese mainland.

Tuesday marked the first anniversary of the accident.

The technical investigation team has carried out an on-site investigation, data inspection, personnel interviews and experimental analysis, according to the administration.

The administration, in accordance with domestic and international regulations, has carried out an in-depth, meticulous and rigorous technical investigation of the accident with other parties involved in the airplane's manufacture and operation.

Over the past year, the technical investigation team conducted a detailed inspection of the aircraft wreckage to determine the possible working state of its key control components before the crash, and carried out experiments on more than 100 important pieces of debris to analyze the causes of damage.

The team also carried out inspections into the qualifications and abilities of crew members, flight operation, airworthiness maintenance of the aircraft, as well as the airline company's management.

Other investigations have also been carried out into air traffic control services, airport ground support, and the security check of passengers, luggage and cargo.

Combined with the relevant data, the flight state of the aircraft in its final stage was analyzed, and a flight simulator and real aircraft were used for simulation and verification.

The investigation team will continue to carry out cause analysis and experimental verification based on the previous work, and release relevant information according to the progress of the investigation, the administration said.

Shao Quan, deputy dean of Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics' College of Civil Aviation, told Xinhua News Agency that it is a common requirement and practice of the international civil aviation industry to disclose information about the progress of investigations to the public on the anniversaries of incidents.

According to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, a final report of a plane accident is encouraged to be published as soon as possible by the country that leads the investigation, within 12 months if possible. If the report cannot be released within 12 months, the country must issue an interim statement on each anniversary, he noted.

He also said that the investigation of aviation accidents usually takes more than a year due to the technical complexity and uncertainty faced by the investigation.

Statistics show that of the more than 1,000 commercial aviation accidents that have occurred in the past 30 years, only 25 percent have had a final report released within a year, Shao said.

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