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Chinese passenger plane with 132 on board crashes in south of country

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A China Eastern Boeing 737-800 with 132 people on board crashed Monday in the southern province of Guangxi, officials said.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China said in a statement that the crash happened near the city of Wuzhou in Teng County. The flight flew from Kunming in western Yunnan province to the industrial hub of Guangzhou along the east coast, he added.

Nothing was initially known about the number of dead and injured. The plane was carrying 123 passengers and nine crew members, the CAAC said, correcting earlier reports that 133 people were on board.

Chinese President Xi Jinping called for “every effort” in the rescue operation for post-crash precautions to be properly managed and potential safety risks investigated to ensure complete civil aviation flight safety.

People’s Daily reports that 117 rescuers have already arrived at the crash site. The Guangxi Fire Department organized 650 rescuers to come to the scene from three directions.

CCTV reports that China Eastern Airlines has set up nine teams, focusing on aircraft disposal, accident investigation and family support, and is heading to the site. The CAAC said it had dispatched a team of officers, and the Guangxi Fire Department said work was underway to control a mountainside fire sparked by the crash.

NASA satellite data showed a massive fire in the exact area where the plane crashed at the time of the crash.

Calls to China Eastern offices were not answered immediately. Local police received initial calls from villagers alerting the crash around 2:30 p.m. (06:30 GMT), according to state media. The Guangxi Provincial Emergency Department said contact with the plane was cut off at 2:15 p.m. (0615 GMT).

Chicago-based Boeing Co. said it was aware of initial reports of the crash and was working to “gather more information.” Boeing shares fell over 8% in premarket trading early Monday.

Shanghai-based China Eastern is one of China’s top three airlines, serving numerous domestic and international routes to 248 destinations.

China Eastern Flight No. 5735 was traveling at an altitude of approximately 30,000 feet when the aircraft suddenly, at a cruising speed of 455 knots (523 mph, 842 km/h), went into a deep dive just after 0620 GMT occurred, according to flight tracking data website FlightRadar24.com. The data suggests the plane went down within a minute and a half of what went wrong.

The plane stopped transmitting data southwest of the Chinese city of Wuzhou.

The aircraft was delivered to China Eastern by Boeing in June 2015 and has been flying for more than six years. China Eastern Airlines uses the Boeing 737-800 as one of the main workhorses of its fleet – of its more than 600 aircraft, 109 are Boeing 737-800.

China Eastern Online switched its website to a black and white homepage after the crash.

Boeing began delivering the 737-800 to customers in 1997 and delivered the last of the series to China Eastern in 2020. It manufactured over 5,200 examples of the narrowbody, a popular single-aisle commuter aircraft.

The twin-engine, single-aisle Boeing 737 is one of the world’s most popular aircraft for short- and medium-haul flights. China Eastern operates several versions of the common aircraft, including the 737-800 and the 737 Max.

The deadliest crash involving a Boeing 737-800 occurred in January 2020, when Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guards accidentally shot down a Ukraine International Airlines flight, killing all 176 people on board.

The 737 Max version was discontinued worldwide after two fatal crashes. China’s aviation authority cleared this aircraft for return to service late last year, making the country the last major market to do so.

China’s last fatal crash of a civilian plane occurred in 2010.

https://ktla.com/news/nationworld/chinese-passenger-plane-crashes-with-132-aboard-in-countrys-south/ Chinese passenger plane with 132 on board crashes in south of country

Dais Johnston

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