The second black box from the China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800NG aircraft that crashed last week has been found, days after the first was retrieved from the crash site in the mountains outside of Wuzhou.
The flight data recorder (FDR) was located on Sunday morning at around 9:20am local time, according to Chinese state media.
Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported the FDR was located beneath a 1.5-metre layer of soil at the crash site.
Zhu Tao, head of aviation safety at the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said the FDR was lodged in a mountain slope 40 metres from the point of impact.
“Civil aviation investigators at the site confirmed that the storage unit of the flight data recorder has been found,” Zhu told reporters in Guangxi on Sunday.
“Parts of the recorder were seriously damaged, but the outside of the storage unit was in fairly good condition.”
The first black box, the cockpit voice recorder (CVR), was retrieved last Wednesday, and both are currently under investigation in Beijing.
Black boxes, which are typically the size of a shoe box, sit inside the aircraft and record flight data and information. The ones inside the MU5735 were installed in the rear of the aircraft.
Locating black boxes are essential in air crash investigations, and these often unveil the necessary details of the last moments before the incident, to give investigators a better chance at understanding the cause of the crash.
Since the crash, hundreds of searchers have been scouring the crash site, however as of late Saturday, Chinese officials confirmed there were no survivors located.
Officials also confirmed they had not found any evidence of explosives in the wreckage, after fears emerged that the crash was caused by a terrorist attack or intentional downing.
“Lab tests taken of 66 samples, 41 of which have been completed, showed no major common inorganic explosive or common organic explosive substances have been found,” fire official Zheng Xi said at a briefing on Saturday.
On Monday, 21 March, the 737-800NG was travelling from Kunming in Yunnan Province to Guangzhou in Guangdong Province with 123 passengers and nine crew onboard, when its altitude started to quickly drop.
Data from Flightradar24 suggests the six-year-old aircraft lost over 20,000 feet in altitude within under two minutes, falling from 29,000 feet to under 9,000. The aircraft began to climb again briefly once it hit 7,400 feet, however, within seconds again continued to descend.
The twin-engine jet impacted the ground about 119 nautical miles west of its destination, in the mountainous region of Wuzhou, about one hour and 37 minutes after take-off.
It marks one of the deadliest aircraft crashes in China.
In a Twitter statement, Boeing said following the announcement of the passengers being declared dead, the company would “continue to support” customers during this time.
“In addition, a Boeing technical team is supporting the NTSB and the Civil Aviation Administration of China who will lead the investigation.”