- The Boeing 737-800 crashed near the city of Wuzhou in the Guangxi region
- The plane was flying from Kunming in SW province of Yunnan to the industrial center of Guangzhou
- The plane stopped transmitting data 96 seconds after starting to fall
No survivors were found in the wreckage of the China Eastern plane, which crashed in a forested mountainous area in China on Monday. The Boeing 737-800 crashed near the city of Wuzhou in the Guangxi region, making it China’s worst air disaster in a decade. The plane was carrying 132 passengers and was flying from Kunming in the southwestern province of Yunnan to the industrial center of Guangzhou along the east coast.
It ignited a fire big enough to be seen on NASA satellite images.
According to the state broadcaster, "Wreckage of the plane was found at the scene, but up until now, none of those aboard the plane with whom contact was lost have been found."
The statement comes more than 18 hours after the crash.
Boeing 737 crash: How it happened
China Eastern Flight 5735 was traveling 455 knots (523 mph, 842 kph) at around 29,000 feet when it entered a steep and fast dive around 2:20 p.m. local time. The plane plunged to 7,400 feet before briefly regaining about 1,200 feet in altitude, then dove again. The plane stopped transmitting data 96 seconds after starting to fall.
The plane was carrying 123 passengers and nine crew members, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said. It was about an hour into the flight and nearing the point at which it would begin descending into Guangzhou, when it pitched downward.
State media reported all 737-800s in China Eastern’s fleet were ordered grounded. Aviation experts said it is unusual to ground an entire fleet of planes unless there is evidence of a problem with the model. China has more 737-800s than any other country — nearly 1,200 — and if identical planes at other Chinese airlines are grounded, it “could have a significant impact on domestic travel,” said aviation consultant IBA.
Boeing 737-800s have been flying since 1998, and Boeing has sold more than 5,100 of them. They have been involved in 22 accidents that damaged the planes beyond repair and killed 612 people, according to data compiled by the Aviation Safety Network, an arm of the Flight Safety Foundation.
About the China Eastern plane
Headquartered in Shanghai, China Eastern is one of the country’s top three airlines, serving 248 domestic and foreign destinations.
The aircraft was delivered to the airliner from Boeing in June 2015 and had been flying for more than six years. China Eastern Airlines uses the Boeing 737-800 as a workhorse of its fleet — the airline has more than 600 planes, and 109 are Boeing 737-800s.
The CAAC and China Eastern both said they had sent officials to the crash site in accordance with emergency measures.
China Eastern’s website switched to a black-and-white homepage after the crash.
The twin-engine, single-aisle Boeing 737 in various versions has been flying for more than 50 years and is one of the world’s most popular planes for short and medium-haul flights.
The deadliest crash involving a Boeing 737-800 came in January 2020, when Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard accidentally shot down a Ukraine International Airlines flight, killing all 176 people on board.
(With inputs from AP)