China Eastern Flights Crashes with 132 People on Board
A China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 with 132 people on board crashed today in a mountainous region in southern China. The domestic flight started a sudden descent from cruising altitude and crashed within 90 seconds.
The flight departed from the southwestern city of Kunming, with Guangzhou as its final destination, when it lost contact over the city of Wuzhou. The plane was carrying 123 passengers and nine crew members. It crashed in the Guangxi province and caught on fire. The blaze was big enough to be seen on NASA satellite images.
There were no immediate details on the possible cause of the crash. Boeing said in a statement it was “aware of the initial media reports and working to gather more information.” There are no official details about casualties yet, but so far rescuers have yet to find any survivors.
Pictures from the scene of a #Boeing 737 crash in south #China.
latest: https://t.co/otZytipiEw pic.twitter.com/IBFrkJDsK3
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) March 21, 2022
Flight tracking data from FlightRadar24 showed that China Eastern Flight 5735 plunged more than 25,000 feet in less than two minutes. Surveillance data showed the Boeing 737-800 had been at a cruising altitude of 29,000 feet when it started a rapid descent. The dive stopped briefly near 10,000 feet, before resuming, according to the data. Flight data was lost at 3,200 feet.
The aircraft was delivered to China Eastern Airlines from Boeing in June 2015 and had been flying for more than six years. The airline currently has a total of 109 Boeing 737-800s. The twin-engine, single aisle Boeing 737 is one of the world’s most popular planes for short and medium-haul flights.
The most recent fatal crash of a 737-800 was in August 2020, when an Air India Express flight slid off the runway in Kozhikode, India, killing 21 people. Pilot error was the cause of that incident. The deadliest crash involving a Boeing 737-800 was in January 2020, when Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard accidentally shot down a Ukraine International Airlines plane, killing all 176 people on board.