The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) confirmed on Tuesday, April 5, that it is helping Chinese investigators review the flight data recorder in a China Eastern Airlines flight MU5735 that crashed last month, killing all 132 people on board.
NTSB previously told Reuters that it was assisting the Civil Aviation Administration of China with the download of the cockpit voice recorder at a lab in Washington. NTSB had repeatedly refused to answer questions about the status of the flight data recorder until Tuesday, when it confirmed assistance with that recorder as well.
The cockpit voice recorder will provide investigators with the contents of communications between the flight’s three pilots. In addition, the flight data recorder records significant flight parameters, including the control and actuator positions, engine information, and time of day. Both recorders – also known as black boxes – could shed light on the cause of the crash.
On Saturday, April 2, a team of three NTSB investigators arrived in China to help in the crash probe. The NTSB also said Friday that Boeing sent a small team to China to assist in the investigation.
Flight MU5735 was en route from the southwestern city of Kunming to Guangzhou when it nosedived from cruising altitude into a hillside in the southern province of Guangxi. It was China’s deadliest air disaster in almost three decades.