A China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737 plane carrying 132 people crashed into the mountains of the southern province of Guangxi on Monday, according to China’s aviation authority.
In its statement, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said the flight carrying 123 passengers and nine crew members had lost contact over the city of Wuzhou in Guangxi. “The plane has now been confirmed to have crashed,” the agency said.
China Eastern Airlines confirmed the crash and said it was opening a hotline for the family members of those on board. The airline’s Weibo account logo was turned black and white in a sign of mourning.
Videos published by the official People’s Daily newspaper showed thick smoke above a forest and a charred clearing, with pieces of the plane scattered on the ground. A villager told state media that at about 2:40 p.m., he heard a “huge explosion” and rushed to the scene by motorcycle. After driving for three or four minutes around the area of the crash, he did not see any victims or their remains.
#UPDATE: A Boeing 737 passenger plane from Kunming to Guangzhou with 132 people on board is confirmed to have crashed in S China’s Guangxi Monday. Rescue operations are underway as casualties remain unknown. pic.twitter.com/SPaLt7saaT
— People's Daily, China (@PDChina) March 21, 2022
State broadcaster CCTV said the number of casualties was still unknown.
The plane, China Eastern Airlines Flight 5735, was flying from Kunming to Guangzhou and was meant to arrive around 3 p.m.
Hundreds of firefighters and search and rescue teams have been sent to the scene, according to local officials. Beijing Youth Daily, citing an official in Tengxian, a county of Wuzhou, said teams from surrounding areas had been dispatched. “Basically we have sent all the forces that we can send,” the official said, according to the paper.