China Eastern Airlines domestic flight MU5735 broke down on a wooded hill in southern Wuzhou on Monday as it traveled between the cities of Kunming (southwest) and Guangzhou (south).
No survivors have been found so far and hopes are dim as the aircraft crashed almost vertically before igniting.
Hundreds of firefighters, soldiers, doctors, volunteers and local politicians remain mobilized to find traces of the passengers, their personal effects and the second black box.
In the pouring rain, reporters from theAFP saw a small group of people on Wednesday, accompanied by local officials, crossing a filter dam installed a few kilometers from the scene of the tragedy.
A man then confirmed to the journalists present that he was a relative of a victim, asking the media not to crowd around him.
The search was halted on Wednesday due to heavy rainfall that waterlogged the disaster site, making it muddy and dangerous for rescuers.
Small landslides may occursaid a reporter for public television CCTV, who said he still felt
a smell of kerosene at the scene two days after the disaster.
There is a huge pit at the point of impact of the plane. The water has accumulated there […] and drainage works will certainly be necessaryhe pointed out.
CCTV broadcast images of the white debris of the device scattered on the brown-ocher ground, but also of wallets, identity cards, clothing or camera lenses.
The possible confirmation of the death of the 132 passengers, including nine crew members, would make it the worst plane crash since 1994 in China, where air safety is considered very good by experts.
According to the CAAC, all the people on board were of Chinese nationality.
The reasons for the tragedy remain unknown for the time being.
According to data from the specialized site Flightradar, the plane suddenly dived towards the ground before crashing. A behavior considered unusual by the experts.
When the air traffic controller noticed the plane’s sharp drop in altitude, he immediately contacted the crew, several times, but got no response.said Zhu Tao, director of aviation safety at the CAAC, on Tuesday.
The device was not old: in service in China since 2015, it had already performed nearly 9,000 flights in more than 18,000 hours, he said. According to China Eastern, it had met all airworthiness requirements.
The CAAC has nevertheless ordered a general inspection of the entire aviation sector over the next two weeks.
President Xi Jinping on Monday called for
determine the causes of the accident as soon as possible and dispatched a government team led by Vice Premier Liu He to the scene.