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Tuesday, 14 May, 2002, 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK
China crash's 'black box' found
A piece of the crashed plane is salvaged from the sea near the port city of Dalian
Fire may have caused the plane to crash
Chinese salvage workers have reportedly found the first of two "black box" flight recorders from a China Northern Airlines plane which crashed into the sea last week, killing all 112 people on board.

The flight-data recorder was found on Tuesday after almost a week of recovery efforts which included the use of underwater detection equipment flown in from the US.

A woman cries after she found out her relative was onboard the China Northern Airlines MD-82
There were no survivors
The recorder, actually orange in colour, could provide vital clues to what went wrong.

The Boeing MD-82 crashed off the coast of Dalian city in northern China last Tuesday, minutes after the pilot reported a fire on board.

The black box found was the cockpit voice recorder, an official in the bureau in charge of the salvage told the French news agency AFP.

If it still works properly it should have recorded the conversations of the pilot and other flight crew in the cockpit up to 25 minutes before the crash.

Safety measures

Wreckage from the plane and the bodies of about 70 bodies that have been recovered, indicate there was a fierce fire on board the plane. But analysts will be studying the flight data very carefully to determine the sequence of events.

Chinese aviation authorities meanwhile have moved to improve aviation safety following the crash, the second involving a Chinese airline in less than a month.

An Air China flight crashed on 15 April near Busan, South Korea, killing 129 people.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) banned all "red eye flights," or after-midnight flights, during a recent emergency safety meeting and placed "strict controls" on the approval of extra flights and charter flights, the Beijing Morning Post has reported.

Neither of the two flights that crashed were "red eye flights" or extra flights, but the new regulations reflect concerns in China to reassure passengers over airline safety

China has big plans to overhaul its airline industry by merging domestic companies into three airline groups.

See also:

10 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
Chinese air crashes 'delay' reforms
08 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: China's air safety
08 May 02 | Asia-Pacific
In Pictures: Chinese air crash
15 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
China crash plane 'blown off course'
15 Apr 02 | World
Air disaster timeline
08 Mar 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: China
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