The Chinese Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC) said it has identified 120 of the victims using DNA testing, including 114 passengers and six crew members.
Monday’s crash of the Boeing 737-800 plane marks China’s worst air disaster in more than a decade. Flight MU5735 was en route from the southwestern city of Kunming to Guangzhou with 123 passengers and nine crew members on board when it lost contact over the city of Wuzhou, the CAAC said in a statement.
The cause of the crash has not yet been determined, but Wednesday’s discovery of the cockpit voice recorder could provide crucial clues as to the course of the disaster. It’s one of two so-called “black boxes,” with researchers still looking for the flight data recorder.
Zhu Tao, director of the CAAC’s Aviation Safety Office, said at a news conference on Saturday that the teams found an emergency location transmitter, which is usually installed close to the second black box.
An investigation is underway by the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), involving the US National Transportation Safety Board and the US Federal Aviation Administration. But it could take months or even more than a year for families to get an answer — the final report on Henan Airlines’ fatal crash in 2010 wasn’t released until almost two years later.
Air crash investigators warned Tuesday that their investigation into the cause of the crash will be “very difficult” due to the serious damage to the plane.
The planes on the ground are undergoing safety inspections and maintenance to ensure they can fly safely, he said. The airline also launched a major safety overhaul after the crash, he added.
The 737-800 is the most common version of Boeing’s jets in use today, and it is the workhorse of many airlines’ fleets.
According to aviation analytics firm Cirium, 4,502 of its 737-800s are now in service, making it by far the most widely used Boeing (BA) aircraft.
DailyExpertNews’s Jessie Yeung, Laura He, Chris Isidore and DailyExpertNews’s Beijing bureau contributed to this report.