Turning grieving for MU5735’s crash into power to guard safety: Global Times editorial
Published: Mar 23, 2022 02:18 AM
Rescuers assembled to approach the site. Photo: People's Daily

Rescuers assembled to approach the site. Photo: People's Daily

The national emergency response mechanism held a news conference on Tuesday night to outline the progress in the search for victims after the crash of China Eastern Airlines flight MU5735 and to address relevant issues of concern. When a staff member of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) reported the situation of the crashed passenger plane, he noted that no survivors from the flight have been found so far. The ongoing all-out search and rescue are pulling at everyone's heartstrings.

The crash happened suddenly. The plane fell vertically in a very short period of time without sending distress signals. There was no smoke in the air. This is an extremely rare situation. Videos and pictures claimed to be related to the crash soon circulated on the internet. Amid the backdrop of the epidemic and the war, its psychological impact on the public can be easily figured out. 

After the crash, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Xi Jinping ordered the immediate launch of an emergency response, all-out search and rescue efforts and the proper settlement of the aftermath. Officials of the State Council rushed to Wuzhou, Guangxi?Zhuang Autonomous Region, to guide on-site rescue work, settlement and investigation of the cause of the accident. Personnel from emergency response, fire fighting, armed police, medical care and others came to the crash site to participate in the rescue efforts. This shows that the Party and the state, as always, attach great importance to the safety of people's lives and aviation safety.

In the era of social media, air crashes have become one of the most communicative events. There are many questions about such a crash that people want urgent answers to. But it is also important to see that the accident investigation will last a long time, which is the general rule of any aircraft accident. From past experience, Air France Flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009, killing all 228 passengers and crew on board, yet the formal investigation report was released three years later. The final report of the disappearance of Flight MH370 in 2014 was also released more than four years after the accident, which still has not been solved. 

This is because investigations of air crashes require the collection of relevant materials from the site, comprehensive analysis in the laboratory, simulated reconstruction of the accident, and large quantities of discussions and review, before a final conclusion could be reached. Rescue factors for such air crashes are complicated, with a high fatality rate and complex aircraft components, and high professionalism is required. They all make it difficult for each link to advance quickly. CAAC personnel also said in the same press conference that the aircraft damage is serious, and the investigation is very difficult. With the information currently available, it is not possible to have a clear judgment on the cause of the accident. 

The search, rescue and subsequent investigation of the crash are confronted with a great challenge. According to media reports, the core area of the rescue site is about half the size of a soccer field, but the area where the plane wreckage was scattered was very large, even to the other side of the mountain, leading to great difficulty in the search work. Moreover, the crash site is surrounded by mountains on three sides and is covered with dense vegetation. So large rescue equipment cannot be transported into the area for the time being. The rain and muddy road also added to the difficulty of the search. In addition, as the plane crash caused a fire, even if the black box is found, whether its data is safe remains unknown. 

While the relevant departments are fully engaged in the investigation, the public should also have rational expectations and sufficient patience. The CAAC has already said at the press conference that the investigation team will make every effort to collect evidence and carry out analysis of the cause of the crash by integrating information, and will make an announcement as soon as progress is made in the investigation. In the meantime, we also need to strictly prevent the spread of false information on social media. Those who obviously "sow sedition" should be subject to the collective resistance of society. 

The investigation into the accident is important not only because an explanation needs to be given to the victims' families, but also because it is necesary to avoid the recurrence of the tragedy. As of Tuesday night, the black box of the crashed plane has not yet been found. Experts believe that every piece of debris needs to be found and collected for the investigation. The more detailed this work is, the more comfort it can bring to the victims' families, and the more lessons could be learned and hidden dangers eliminated.

Just before the crash of China Eastern Airlines flight MU5735, the continuous safe flight time of China's civil aviation transport has exceeded 100 million hours, creating the best continuous safe flight record in the history of the world's civil aviation. In this context, this plane crash sounded the alarm. It is hoped that the civil aviation sector think through the pain and draw inferences from this case, strengthen the investigation of hidden dangers, pay close attention to the implementation of responsibilities, and ensure the absolute safety of aviation operations and people's lives.