SHANGHAI, CHINA – A Boeing 737-800 of China Eastern Airlines has crashed in southern China on Monday during a domestic flight from Kunming to Guangzhou when the plane disappeared from radar southeast of the city of Wuzhou in the Guangxi region. There were 132 people on board the aircraft. No details have been shared yet on the number of victims, but it’s likely that nobody survived the crash. Chinese media report that China Eastern will ground its Boeing 737-800 fleet from Tuesday.
Flight MU5735 was en route from Kunming to Guangzhou on Monday when it crashed into the mountains near Wuzhou. It’s unclear what could have caused the aircraft to crash. According to the Chinese aviation authorities, 123 passengers and 9 crew members were on board the aircraft.
Footage made by local people show that the aircraft has come down in a wooded, mountainous area. Other images also show parts of the Boeing 737’s wings.
Other unverified images would show the final seconds of Flight MU5735, showing a large flying object falling downwards with high speed.
Based on transponder data from Flightradar24, it can be concluded that shortly before the crash the aircraft was still flying at an altitude of more than 29,000 feet and made a sudden dive.
According to state media, many pieces of wreckage have been found at the crash site. A local fire department officer said that there are no signs of life among the debris.
The airline has expressed its condolences in a statement and has opened a special phone number for the families of victims of the crash. According to China Eastern, the crash is still under investigation.
Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has not responded yet to the crash through official channels.
Bloomberg reports that China Eastern will ground its entire Boeing 737-800 fleet from Tuesday for an indefinite period of time. Shortly after the crash on Monday, some China Eastern 737-800s were still flying. The airline has 102 Boeing 737-800s.
The Boeing 737-89P(WL) with registration B-1791 and its ‘Orange Yunnan Peacock’ livery, made it’s first flight on June 5, 2015 and was delivered to China Eastern Airlines on June 22, 2015.
China Eastern Airlines is one of the three largest airlines in China with a fleet of about 600 aircraft, and has a good track record in terms of safety. The airline is a shareholder of Air France-KLM (9.6 percent) and a partner of KLM within SkyTeam.
Head photo: China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-89P (Orange Yunnan Peacock) B-1791 landing at HKG – Photo by Kelvin Yu, PDM-owner, via Wikimedia Commons
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