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China Searches for Victims, Flight Recorders After Plane Crash


A woman takes part in a Buddhist ceremony in honor of the victims in a field close to the site where a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane crashed, in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China, March 22, 2022.
Rescuers have so far found wreckage but no survivors or flight recorders in the crash Monday of China Eastern flight 5735 on the forested mountain slopes in southern China’s Guangxi region.


The Boeing 737-800 jet carried 132 people, including nine crew members, and is one of the country’s worst air disasters in more than a decade. It was headed to the Chinese port city of Guangzhou from Kunming, capital of the southwestern province of Yunnan.

In a statement issued within hours of the crash, Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered the country’s emergency services to assemble search efforts and has ordered a full investigation. About 600 soldiers, firefighters, paramilitary forces, police and some dogs have been deployed to the crash site after a small path was cleared by excavators, state media reported, who described the search as “grim.”

Plane debris is seen at the site where a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane flying from Kunming to Guangzhou crashed, in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China March 21, 2022.
Plane debris is seen at the site where a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane flying from Kunming to Guangzhou crashed, in Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, China March 21, 2022.

Rescuers are searching for flight recorders containing critical flight data and cockpit voice recordings, state-run China Youth Daily reported. The search is reportedly being conducted in a grid-by-grid fashion throughout the night. The difficult terrain of the site allows for only one path of access due to the mountainous terrain that surrounds the 1-square-kilometer crash site. Rain is forecast for the area this week.

The Xinhua news agency reported that the crash created a deep ditch on the mountain slope, with debris scattered everywhere. Other outlets have reported the burned remains of identity cards, wallets, and purses have been spotted.

“The fact that the [Chinese] president made such a pronounced and quick response to this tells me that they're taking it very, very seriously," said David Soucie, a former safety inspector at the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

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