Chinese Boeing jet crashes with 132 people on board, no sign of survival

Guangzhou, China, March 21 (Reuters) – China Eastern Airlines (600115SS) A Boeing 737-800 with 132 people on board crashed into a domestic plane in the mountains of southern China on Monday. The media reported that there were no signs of survival.

The airline said it would extend its deepest condolences to passengers and crew, not to mention how many people were killed on the jet, an earlier model with a stronger safety record than the 737 MAX.

Boeing (BA.N) He said China was ready to help the East and was in contact with US traffic safety regulators over the incident.

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Reuters graphics

Chinese media took brief highway video footage from a vehicle’s dashcam showing a jet diving behind trees at a vertical 35-degree angle. Reuters could not immediately verify the footage.

The plane was flying from the southwestern city of Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, to Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong, on the border with Hong Kong when it crashed.

China Eastern said it was investigating the cause of the crash. Such accidents usually involve many factors and experts warn that it is too early to make any decisions in light of the possible causes, especially the rare information available.

Investigators will look for crashes and flight recorders that caused the plane to crash vertically and crash into the mountains.

The airline said it had sent a task force to the site. Chinese state television quoted China Eastern as saying that there were no foreigners on the plane.

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Relatives, friends and colleagues of the passengers gathered in the encircled area of ​​Guangzhou Bayon International Airport, the destination of the jet, late on Monday.

A man by the surname Yan said there was a co-worker on the plane and he notified his 29-year-old mother.

“She’s suffocating when she picks up the phone,” he said, adding that he was “heartbroken” when he heard the news.

Yan said China East staff were making arrangements for relatives who wanted to travel to the crash site on Tuesday. Reuters was unable to independently verify Yan’s identity.

The plane, with 123 passengers and nine crew on board, lost contact with the city of Wuzhou, according to China’s Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and the airline.

The flight took off from Kunming at 1:11 pm (0511 GMT), FlightRadar24 data showed, and was scheduled to land in Guangzhou at 3:05 pm (0705 GMT).

The plane crashed during the flight. According to data from Boeing’s global commercial jet plane crash data, there were five fatal accidents during the 10-year journey from 2010 to 2020.

Flightradar24 said it was six years old, flying at 29,100 feet at 0620 GMT. It then began to descend rapidly to 7,425 feet, then recovered to 8,600 feet and then descended rapidly again, FlightRadar24 data shows. The last observed altitude was 3,225 feet above sea level.

The media quoted a rescue official as saying the plane crashed and the fire destroyed bamboo trees. The People’s Daily quoted a provincial fire department official as saying there was no sign of life in the rubble.

State media showed part of the plane in a scarred, muddy area. There were no signs of fire or personal possessions.

Cruise phase

Accidents during the flight phase of flights are relatively rare, although this period covers most flight times.

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Boeing claimed that between 2011 and 2020, 13% of all tragic business accidents worldwide occurred during shipping, while 28% occurred during final approaches and 26% during landing.

Reuters graphics

“Usually the plane is on an autopilot during the flight. So it is very difficult to understand what happened,” said Chinese aviation expert Li Xiaojin.

Online weather data showed a partly cloudy weather with good visibility in Wuzhou at the time of the crash.

State broadcaster CCTV reported that President Xi Jinping had called on investigators to quickly determine the cause of the crash.

Boeing said in a statement that its thoughts were with passengers and crew.

“Boeing is in contact with the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and is ready to assist in the investigation led by our technicians (CAAC),” the company said.

The catastrophe comes as Boeing seeks to recover from a number of intermittent crises, including a corona virus infection and an accident involving its 737 MAX model. Shares of aircraft maker fell 3.6%.

State media have reported that China has landed its navy with Eastern 737-800 aircraft. According to FlightRadar24, it has 109 aircraft.

Shares of China Eastern Airlines in Hong Kong fell 6.5% after news of the crash, while its US-listed shares fell 6.3%.

‘Good post’

This month, OAG, the aviation data provider, became the sixth largest airline in the world by state-owned China Eastern Airlines in terms of planned weekly seating capacity. read more

The 737-800 has a good safety record and is the precursor to the 737 MAX model that landed in China more than three years after the crash in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

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The crash has once again drawn the attention of the US manufacturer’s best-selling aircraft family, and it is working to recover from the 737 MAX security crisis and global epidemic.

To shed light on the crash, investigators will search the aircraft’s black boxes – aircraft data recorder and cockpit voice recorder.

Plane crash investigations are usually led by the country of the crash and involve the origin of the aircraft, so U.S. investigators are expected to join the US-made Boeing jet investigation.

The US NTSB has appointed a senior air defense analyst as China’s authorized representative to investigate China. read more

China’s air defense record has been the best in the world for a decade, but it’s less transparent than countries like the United States and Australia, where regulators publish detailed reports on non – fatal incidents, says Greg Waldron, the industry’s managing editor. Release Flight Global. read more

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Reported by Jamie Fried in Beijing and Shanghai newsrooms and Sydney; David Shepherdson in Washington, Eric M. in Seattle. Additional reporting by Johnson, Alison Lambert in Montreal and Rajesh Kumar Singh in Chicago; Written by Robert Brussel, Nick McPhee and Rami Job; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore, Hugh Lawson and Bernard Orr

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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