Searchers have found the second black box or flight recorder from the crash of a China Eastern passenger plane last week that killed all 132 people on board, state media reported on Sunday.
The Boeing 737-800 flight from Kunming to Guangzhou on Monday nosedived into a mountainside in Guangxi province in the worst plane crash in a decade. The first flight recorder was found on Wednesday. It was sent to Beijing for analysis, which is expected to take several more days.
“The second black box from China Eastern flight MU5735 was recovered on March 27,” Xinhua news agency reported.
The plane was equipped with two flight recorders: one in the rear passenger cabin tracking flight data, and the other a cockpit voice recorder.
The second flight recorder contains data such as speed, altitude and heading.
With both now recovered, investigators should be able to begin to piece together what caused the plane to fall more than 6,000 metres (20,000 feet) in just more than a minute.
But it could take weeks or months for investigators to figure out what caused the MU5735 flight to crash.
Hundreds of people, including firefighters, doctors and investigators, remain at the scene of the tragedy recovering human remains and the wreckage of the plane.
The Chinese Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC) said on Saturday evening that all of the people on board the aircraft had died, and that it had confirmed almost all of their identities through DNA testing.
All 123 passengers and nine crew members were Chinese nationals.
China Eastern, one of China’s four major airlines, and its subsidiaries have grounded all of their 737-800 aircraft, a total of 223 planes. The carrier said the grounding was a precaution, not a sign that anything was wrong.
China Eastern had earlier said the crashed plane, which was nearly seven years old, had met all airworthiness requirements pre-flight.
The disaster provoked an unusually swift public response from President Xi Jinping, who ordered an inquiry into its cause as aviation authorities pledged an extensive two-week check-up of China’s vast passenger fleet.
The crash affects the return of Boeing’s 737 MAX to China, the last big market where the US plane-maker is still awaiting approval to resume flying following crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed a combined 346 people in 2018 and 2019.