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No survivors of crash found
China Daily
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No survivors of crash found

No survivors have been found so far after a China Eastern Airlines plane crashed on Monday in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, local authorities said on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, more than 2,000 search and rescue workers intensified efforts to recover the aircraft's two black boxes, or flight data recorders, to investigate the cause of the tragedy.

Flight MU5735 left Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, at 1:11 pm on Monday and was scheduled to arrive in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, at 3:05 pm. Air traffic controllers lost track of the plane over Wuzhou, Guangxi, at 2:21 pm.

The flight was carrying 123 passengers and nine crew members, all Chinese nationals.

As of 9 pm on Tuesday, no survivors had been found, said Sun Shiying, chairman of China Eastern Airlines, at a news conference held in Wuzhou on Tuesday night by the investigation team of the State Council, China's Cabinet.

Sun said the company had established contact with relatives of all the passengers within 24 hours. The airline will provide care based on their needs.

Zhu Tao, director of the Civil Aviation Administration of China's Aviation Safety Office, said at the news conference that the aircraft was severely damaged, which poses a huge challenge to the investigation of the cause of the crash.

"We are still at the preliminary stage of the investigation, so we cannot make any judgment. The key task now is to locate the two black boxes. We will immediately inform the public when the cause is confirmed," Zhu said.

The administration called on Tuesday for all industry entities, including air traffic control, airlines, airports and pilot training institutes, to carry out a thorough, two-week safety inspection to eliminate safety hazards and ensure people's absolute safety.

Along with search and rescue workers, drones have been deployed to the crash site to search for more evidence over an area of nearly 680,000 square meters.

Zhu Xiaodong, a rescuer with a drone rescue center in Guangzhou, said the drones' thermal imaging will help to locate the two black boxes, which record cockpit conversations and flight data.

According to video footage released on Tuesday by China Central Television, search and rescue workers who were marking debris also found charred wallets, train tickets, identification cards and bank cards at the crash site, which is in a forest near Tengxian county's Molang village.

Much of the debris from the aircraft was in small pieces, said Li Chenbin, a technician with China Mobile's Guangxi branch who heard a loud bang echoing across the mountains at around 2:20 pm on Monday.

Li, who was working nearby on the mobile communication network, said, "I then rushed to the site with my colleagues and saw the aircraft debris, much of which was in small pieces. It was scattered all over the mountains. The biggest piece I saw was part of a wing with China Eastern's logo."

Because the crash site is hemmed in by mountains on three sides, with only a narrow road leading there, it has been difficult to carry out search and rescue work. Villagers have been using motorbikes to carry supplies to the crash site.

Vice-Premier Liu He and State Councilor Wang Yong arrived in Wuzhou in the early hours of Tuesday to guide the rescue efforts, the aftermath and the investigation into the cause of the crash. They inspected the crash site in the morning and held a meeting to discuss the search and rescue plan.

According to the meeting, search and rescue teams must race against time to search for survivors and leave no blind spot. In addition, one-on-one care must be provided to relatives of the passengers, and the cause of the crash must be determined as soon as possible.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his sorrow for families of those aboard and to the Chinese government, said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN chief.

China DailyGu Yetao

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