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Black box from crashed Boeing jet is on its way to Beijing for analysis, state media says

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Zhu Tao, director of the aviation safety office at the Civil Aviation Administration of China, speaks during a press conference at a hotel in Wuzhou on March 23, 2022.
Noel Celis | Afp | Getty Images

BEIJING — Search and rescue teams have found a black box and human remains at the China Eastern Airlines crash site, state media said, citing Chinese officials late Wednesday.

An airplane’s black boxes are two sets of technical equipment — one that captures flight data, and another that records cockpit communications with air traffic controllers. Analyzing that data could reveal reasons for the crash.

The black box found Wednesday is likely the cockpit voice recorder, while the search continues for the other, Zhu Tao, director of the aviation safety office at the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said at a press conference Wednesday night.

The box has been shipped overnight to a professional civil aviation agency in Beijing for data analysis, Zhu said, noting the process would take time. The box’s storage unit appears relatively complete, although the exterior was severely damaged.

A Boeing 737-800 flight carrying 132 people nose-dived Monday afternoon in a rural, mountainous part of the southern region of Guangxi. Authorities haven’t confirmed any fatalities or shared why the crash happened.

Honeywell manufactured the two black boxes on the crashed Boeing plane, China’s civil aviation authority news account said, citing Wednesday’s press conference.

Rescue teams have sent human remains found at the crash site on to investigators, state media added, citing the same press event.

The last serious passenger flight crash in China occurred in 2010.

Since this week’s crash involved an American-made Boeing plane, U.S. agencies and companies will also participate in the investigation.

While Chinese authorities are leading the probe, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said it has appointed a senior air safety investigator and that representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration, Boeing and CFM will serve as technical advisors. CFM is a joint venture between U.S.-based General Electric and France-based Safran that manufactured the engines on the crashed plane, the safety board said.

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