By Martin Quin Pollard
WUZHOU, China, March 25 (Reuters) – Rescue teams widened the search zone for the China Eastern Airlines crash on fournes as they continued to miss the second of the plane’s two black boxes for a fourth day.
Flight MU5735 was traveling from the southwestern city of Kunming to Guangzhou on the coast on Monday when the Boeing 737-800 plummeted from its cruising altitude around the time it should have started its descent to its destination.
You have found human remains and personal belongings of the 132 people on board, but there are no survivors, and the remains of the accident were scattered over a wide area of forested hillsides in China’s Guangxi region.
It was the first major air disaster in China in a dozen years, and although the cause of the incident remains unknown, it has prompted the government to tighten security checks in aviation and other industries.
“The search area has been expanded to 200,000 square meters,” Lao Gaojin, a local government official, told a news conference, adding that 2,248 local residents had joined the search on Friday.
The other black box – the cockpit voice recorder – was found on Wednesday and has been sent to Beijing for expert examination.
According to Chinese state media, it could take 10-15 days to come to a preliminary analysis, and longer before a final conclusion can be presented in a report.
“Currently we cannot determine the exact time required for data download and analysis of the already recovered black box,” said Mao Yanfeng, an official with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), adding that the exterior of the device had been damaged.
(Additional reporting by Ryan Woo and Stella Qiu in Beijing and Allison Lampert in Montreal; Spanish editing by Carlos Serrano)