Beijing – A China Eastern passenger plane with 132 people crashed in southern China on Monday, aviation authorities said. China’s state media said the disaster had led to a mountain fire and an unknown number of casualties.

A Boeing 737-800 from the city of Kunming to the southern center of Guangzhou “lost air communication over the city of Wuzhou” in the Guangxi region, according to an online announcement by the Chinese Civil Aviation Authority (CAAC).

“It has now been confirmed that the flight crashed,” the CAAC said, adding that it had stepped up an emergency response and “sent a task force to the scene.” There were 123 passengers and 9 crew members on board, the CAAC said. Earlier, state media reported that 133 people were on board.

A screenshot from a video posted on Chinese social media allegedly shows a fire burning on a hillside near Wuzhou City on March 21, 2022 after a Boeing 737-800 China Eastern Airlines passenger plane crashed in the area.

The state-run CCTV reported that the plane crashed in Teng County near Wuzhou and “caused a mountain fire”, citing the provincial emergency bureau. The crash site was about 150 miles from Guangzhou’s destination, meaning the plane traveled about 500 miles of its way.

Tracking data showed that the flight was flying at a normal cruising altitude of about 30,000 feet when suddenly it began a deep dive. Data show that the plane crashed about 90 seconds after it first crashed to the ground. The Boeing company, based in Chicago, said it was aware of the initial reports of the crash and “is working to gather more information.” Earlier Monday, Boeing shares fell more than 8% during pre-market trading.

The state-run tabloid People’s Daily reported that 117 rescuers were working at the crash site and that another 650 rescuers and firefighters organized by the Guangxi Fire Service were heading to the crash site. Guangxi fire crews fought to put out the fire on the hillside caused by the disaster, and NASA satellite data showed that there was a large fire in the area.

CCTV reported that China Eastern has set up nine separate teams to work on everything from disposing of the wreckage to investigating the disaster and helping the passenger family.

An image from the Chinese State Video Surveillance shows that ambulance officers boarding buses at an unspecified location in China are to be taken to the crash site of a China Eastern Airlines passenger plane near Wuzhou on March 21, 2022.

CCTV / Reuters

“We are shocked to learn of the MU5735 crash in eastern China,” state-run CCTV quoted Chinese President Xi Jinping as saying. He also called for “every effort” to save the survivors and find out “the cause of the accident” as soon as possible.

There was no immediate response from China Eastern when contacted by CBS News on Monday. The airline changed its website to black and white on Monday afternoon.

FlightRadar24 flight tracker showed no more data for flight MU5735 after 14:22 local time when it reached the area around Wuzhou. The plane was shown to have fallen sharply from an altitude of 29,100 feet to 3,225 feet in less than three minutes before flight information stopped.

The flight information board shows the canceled flight of China Eastern Airlines (upper left) at Kunming Changshu International Airport in the southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan on March 21, 2022 after the crash of another China Eastern Airlines flight, MU5735, flying from Kunming to the south Guangzhou Knot. in southwest China.

STR / AFP / Getty

The plane was delivered to China Eastern by Boeing in June 2015, according to the Associated Press.

The twin-engine, single-pass Boeing 737 is one of the most widely used passenger aircraft in the world for short and medium flights. China Eastern operates various versions of the 737, including the 737-800, which crashed on Monday, and the 737 Max, which was stopped worldwide after two fatal accidents. China’s aviation regulator allowed Max to return to service only late last year – the last national regulator to do so in the major travel market.

Following Monday’s crash, the Chinese financial news agency Yicai, based in the Shanghai Economic Center, said China Eastern was going to suspend all its 737-800s before an investigation, but the airline did not immediately confirm the move.

Features of Hong Kong International Airport
A Boeing 737-89P China Eastern Airlines passenger plane landed at Hong Kong International Airport in this photo from August 1, 2018.

S3studio / Getty

CBS News correspondent Chris Van Cleve said the 737-800 is part of the “next generation” family of Boeing 737 lines. More than 7,000 have been built, with fewer than 25 crashes that have made planes unusable since their first flight in 1997. year. Van Cleve said the unverified video, which allegedly shows the plane spinning its nose down before the crash, is in line with early flight data. available from flight tracking websites. The incredibly steep dive shown in the video – an angle of almost 90 degrees – is very unusual in a plane crash.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration told CBS News in a statement Monday that it was “aware of reports that a Boeing 737-800 plane of China Eastern Airlines crashed” in China. The agency said it was ready to assist in the investigation of the disaster, “if requested” by the Chinese authorities together with the National Transport Safety Council, but noted that by default China will take the initiative.

One villager told a local news site that the plane involved in the crash “completely collapsed” and he saw that nearby forest areas were destroyed by a fire caused when the plane crashed into a mountain slope.

Concerns over the plane’s fate spread on Monday afternoon when local media reported that China Eastern flight MU5735 did not arrive in Guangzhou as planned, after departing from Kunming shortly after 1pm (05:00 GMT).

The Boeing 737 Max performs its first passenger flight in almost 2 years


In recent years, China has set an enviable record for air safety in a country crossed by newly built airports and serviced by new airlines set up in line with the country’s frantic growth over the past few decades.

In 2010, a flight of Henan Airlines crashed in northeastern Heilongjiang province, killing at least 42 of the 92 people on board, although the final score has not been confirmed.

It was the latest crash of a Chinese commercial passenger plane that resulted in civilian casualties. The deadliest commercial flight crash in China was the China Northwest Airlines crash in 1994, which killed all 160 people on board.

Most of the passengers on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared in March 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, were from China.

Previous articleJackson faces the Senate on the first day of the approval hearing
Next articleAn indoor orangutan opens at Columbus Zoo