China on Wednesday said one of two black boxes from the China Eastern plane crash was found in severely damaged condition. The crashed airliner had two black boxes, one in the cockpit and one in the tail to record various data.
"A black box of the China Eastern Airlines passenger plane has been recovered," rescuers at the site told state-run Xinhua news agency.
The recorder is so damaged that they are not able to tell whether it is the flight data recorder or the cockpit voice recorder.
Aircraft black boxes are generally in bright orange-red so they can be found quickly after a flight accident. They are built to withstand explosions, disintegration, high temperature combustion, immersion in water and other damage, and the battery lasts for about 30 days.
Because the crash site is in a forested mountainous area, searchers are relying on drones and manpower, which will bring certain difficulties.
A China Eastern flight 5735 carrying 123 passengers and nine crew members crashed outside the city of Wuzhou in the Guangxi region on Monday while flying from Kunming, the capital of the southwestern province of Yunnan, to Guangzhou, an industrial centre not far from Hong Kong on China's southeastern coast. It ignited a fire big enough to be seen on NASA satellite images before firefighters could extinguish it.
No survivors have been found so far among the 132 people, Sun Shiying, chairman of China Eastern Airlines Yunnan branch, said on Tuesday night.
The cause of the crash cannot be confirmed immediately and the investigation into the cause is difficult, said Zhu Tao, an official with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said on Tuesday.
At present, the investigation team is carrying out a full probe in accordance with the procedures, with rescuers exploring the crash site and going all out to search the black boxes, Zhu had said. The team is also thoroughly investigating other aspects, including flight, maintenance, air traffic control, meteorology, aircraft design and manufacturing, Zhu added.