No survivors have been found at the crash site of a China Eastern plane carrying 132 people, state media reported hours after the incident. The aircraft went down near the city of Wuzhou in the Guangxi region while flying from Kunming in the southwestern province of Yunnan to the industrial center of Guangzhou along the east coast.
State broadcaster CCTV announced early Tuesday, “Wreckage of the plane was found at the scene, but up until now, none of those aboard the plane with whom contact was lost have been found.”
Search and rescue operations continue in the forested mountainous area where the Boeing 737-800 crashed. Flames were seen erupting out of the plane after the incident.
Soon after the plane crash was reported, Chinese President Xi Jinping said that a probe will be launched to know more about the crash and ensure safety in civil aviation. An “all-out” rescue mission was also announced.
China’s Civil Aviation Administration said that out of the 132 individuals aboard the aircraft, nine were crew members. The plane had been airborne for about an hour before it pitched downwards, descending into Guangzhou.
China Eastern Flight 5735 was traveling 455 knots (523 mph, 842 kph) at around 29,000 feet when it entered a steep and fast dive around 2:20 p.m. local time, according to reports from Associated Press citing data from flight-tracking website FlightRadar24.com.
The plane plunged to 7,400 feet before briefly regaining about 1,200 feet in altitude, then dove again. The plane stopped transmitting data 96 seconds after starting to fall.
The deadliest crash involving a Boeing 737-800 came in January 2020, when Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard accidentally shot down a Ukraine International Airlines flight, killing all 176 people on board.