My1sttoday World News — Boeing 737-800 plane carrying 132 people crashes in Guangxi Hills China on Monday during a domestic flight.
There was no immediate word on the cause of the crash and the number of casualties are not yet known. Rescuers have seen no signs of survivors.
Chinese airlines generally have a good safety record – the last major accident took place 12 years ago.
The crash has caused shock in China, where President Xi Jinping has ordered an immediate investigation to determine the cause. China Eastern Airlines has grounded all its 737-800s.
Flight tracking data suggested the plane lost height rapidly from its cruising altitude before plummeting to the ground.
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) March 21, 2022
More than 600 emergency responders are said to be at the crash site. Firefighters reached the scene first and managed to extinguish a blaze in the hills caused by the crash.
Footage taken by local villagers and shared on Chinese social media – and by state broadcasters – showed fire and smoke from the crash, with plane debris on the ground.
Boeing said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with the passengers and crew of China Eastern Airlines Flight MU 5735. We are working with our airline customer and are ready to support them.”
The company added that it is in contact with the US National Transportation Safety Board and that its technical experts are ready to assist in the CAAC investigation.
Chinese President Xi Jinping instructed the country’s emergency services to “organize a search and rescue” operation and “identify the causes of the accident,” state media reported.
“After the accident, President Xi Jinping immediately made instructions to start the emergency mechanism, organize search and rescue, and properly deal with the aftermath,” state broadcaster CCTV said.
“My thoughts are with the families of all those caught up in this tragedy and the search and rescue teams currently responding,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a tweet.
CFM, the plane’s engine maker also extended its “heartfelt sympathies to the families and the loved ones of those on board.”
The National Transportation Safety Board has appointed a “senior air safety investigator as a U.S. accredited representative to the investigation,” which is being led by China’s Civil Aviation Administration, the NTSB said in a tweet Monday afternoon.
Representatives from Boeing, the Federal Aviation Administration and the plane’s engine maker, CFM, will serve as technical advisors, the NTSB said. The agency had previously said General Electric would serve as a technical advisor, but later clarified that the company will not. CFM is a joint venture of General Electric and Safran.
Boeing, in a statement, said that it is in contact with the NTSB and that the company’s “technical experts are prepared to assist with the investigation led by the Civil Aviation Administration of China.”
Boeing’s 737 Max aircraft were grounded worldwide in 2019 after a pair of deadly crashes. A changed version of the plane made its first commercial flight in the United States after the ban in December 2020.