according to To data from Flightradar24The China Eastern Airlines flight was flying at 29,100 feet when it suddenly started losing altitude. Just two minutes later, the plane had descended to an altitude of 9,075 feet. According to Flightradar data, the last recorded altitude was 3,225 feet, indicating a vertical drop of 31,000 feet per minute.
A man who was driving on a highway near Wuzhou told the Beijing Youth Daily that he saw the plane descend into the mountains at about 2 p.m. “It fell almost vertically,” said the man, identified only by his nickname Li.
China Eastern Airlines confirmed the accident and said it was opening a hotline for family members of passengers. The airline’s website Weibo . account logo It turned black and white in a mourning sign.
Videos published by the official People’s Daily showed thick smoke over a forest and a charred patch, and pieces of the plane were scattered on the ground.
One villager told state media that he heard a “big explosion” and rushed to the scene on a motorbike. After driving for three or four minutes around the crash area, he didn’t see any victims or their remains.
#Update— A Boeing 737 passenger plane flying from Kunming to Guangzhou with 132 passengers on board was confirmed to have crashed in south China’s Guangxi region on Monday. Rescue operations are underway as the number of casualties is still unknown. pic.twitter.com/SPaLt7saaT
– People’s Daily, China (PDChina) March 21, 2022
State broadcaster CCTV said the number of casualties was still unknown. The plane, China Eastern Flight 5735, was en route from Kunming to Guangzhou and was supposed to arrive around 3 p.m.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a statement that he was “shocked” when he learned of the incident, according to CCTV, which said he had given “important instructions” to fully activate emergency response operations and properly deal with the repercussions of the accident. order an investigation.
Shares of China Eastern in Hong Kong fell 6.46 percent after news of the crash. Boeing shares fell more than 8 percent in pre-market trading in New York. Boeing said in a statement it was aware of the reports and was “working to gather more information.”
Hundreds of firefighters and search and rescue teams were dispatched to the scene, according to local officials. The Beijing Youth Daily, citing an official in Tengxian, Wuzhou County, said teams have been dispatched from the surrounding areas. According to the newspaper, the official said, “We have basically sent all the forces that we can send.”
Teams have arrived at the crash site but have not yet identified the remains of any of the victims, according to the Guangxi fire service.
If the death of all passengers on board is confirmed, it will be the deadliest accident in China since 1994 when a China Northwest Airlines plane – a Soviet-made Tu-154 – crashed in Xi’an, killing 160 people after the plane crashed into the air due to Autopilot malfunction.
In 1992, a China Southern Airlines plane crashed between Guangzhou and Guilin while landing, killing all 144 people on board.
The country’s last major plane crash was in 2010, when Henan Airlines’ Air 190, made by Embraer, overran the runway as it landed in Yichun in Heilongjiang Province, and caught fire, killing 44 people. The pilot was sentenced to three years in prison for negligence.
China’s aviation safety record is among the best in the world after regulators reformed the industry in the wake of a series of plane crashes and hijackings in the 1990s, which earned the country a reputation as one of the most dangerous places in the world to fly.
The plane that crashed on Monday was a Boeing 737-800, one of the world’s most popular passenger planes and just under seven years old, according to the British Guardian newspaper. FlightAware.
The 737 Max series, which was discontinued after it was involved in accidents in Indonesia and Ethiopia in 2018 and 2019 and recently returned to service in China, has not.
Vic Chiang in Taipei and Laurie Aratani in Washington contributed to this report.
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