China Eastern passenger jet carrying 132 people (123 passengers +9 flight crew members) crashed in southern China on Monday afternoon, aviation authorities said, with state media reporting it led to a fire on a mountain and the number of casualties unknown.
Boeing 737 flight from Kunming city to the southern hub of Guangzhou lost airborne contact over Wuzhou city in the Guangxi region, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said in an online announcement.
“At present, it has been confirmed that this flight has crashed,” the CAAC said, adding that it had activated its emergency response and “dispatched a working group to the scene”.
State broadcaster CCTV reported that the plane crashed in Teng county near Wuzhou and “caused a mountain fire”, citing the provincial emergency management bureau.Rescue teams were dispatched to the scene.
One eyewitness told that the plane involved in the crash had “completely fallen apart” and he had seen nearby forest areas destroyed by a fire caused when the plane crashed onto the mountainside.
Monday afternoon as local media reported that China Eastern flight MU5735 had not arrived as planned in Guangzhou after taking off from Kunming shortly after 1:00 pm (0500 GMT).
There was no immediate response from China Eastern when contacted by AFP. The airline had changed its website to black and white colours on Monday afternoon.”The exact location of the accident was Langnan township in Teng county,” a local official told AFP, without giving further details.
Flight tracker Flight Radar 24 showed no more data for flight MU5735 after 2:22 pm local time, when it had reached Wuzhou. It showed that the plane had sharply dropped from an altitude of 29,100 feet to 3,225 feet in the span of three minutes, before flight information stopped.