Teams search for survivors and as yet unknown victims of China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737 crash
Chinese state media reported that a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737 plane with 132 people on board crashed in southern China. The plane crashed in a mountainous area of Wuzhou, in the southern province of Guangxi.
State media initially reported there were 133 people on board, but later said there were 123 passengers and nine crew on board the flight from Kunming to Guangzhou. The casualties were still unknown as the teams were posted on the site, China Central Television said in a brief report on Weibo, the equivalent of Twitter used in China.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said it sent a team of officials, and Guangxi firefighters said work was underway to control a mountainside fire started by the accident. NASA satellite data showed a massive fire right in the area where the plane crashed at the time of the accident. Shanghai-based China Eastern is one of China’s three major airlines, operating dozens of domestic and international routes serving 248 destinations. The crashed flight appears to be Flight No. MU5735 from Kunming to Guangzhou, according to data from flight tracking website FlightRadar24. It showed the Boeing 737-89P rapidly losing speed after 0620 GMT before plummeting sharply.
The plane stopped transmitting data just southwest of the Chinese city of Wuzhou. The aircraft was delivered to China Eastern by Boeing in June 2015 and had been flying for over six years. The single aisle, twin-engine Boeing 737 is one of the most popular short and medium-range aircraft in the world. China Eastern operates several versions of the common aircraft, including the 737-800 and 737 Max. The 737 Max version has been grounded worldwide after two fatal crashes. China’s aviation regulator cleared the plane’s return to service late last year, making the country the last major market to do so. The last fatal crash of a civilian airliner in China dates back to 2010.