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China Eastern B737 crashes in Guangxi mountains with 132 onboard

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A Boeing 737-800 operated by China Eastern Airlines has crashed in a mountainous area of China. After video evidence of the collision and a fire at the scene surfaced, hopes of finding anyone alive are decreasing.

The Guangxi Emergency Management Department, according to CCTV News, has dispatched rescue crews to the passenger plane, where a fire has been reported. On March 21, 2022, an incident occurred in Teng County, Guangxi.

The Chinese Civil Aviation Authority confirmed the disaster in a statement, stating that 132 persons were on board, including 123 passengers and 9 crew members. The number on board had been reported to be 133 in previous reports.

In its first public statement, China Eastern verified CAAC’s statement, saying it was sent a working group to the location and had set up an emergency helpline for family members. According to Chinese state media outlet Yicai, the carrier will ground all of its 737-800 aircraft on March 22, 2022.

“The Civil Aviation Administration has activated the emergency mechanism and dispatched a working group to the scene,” the statement read.

According to FlightRadar24, data for flight MU5735 from Kunming to Guangzhou, registration B-1791, was lost at 0622 UTC, just over an hour after takeoff.

At 0620 UTC, the aircraft was cruising at 29,100 feet before rapidly decreasing altitude and descending to 3,225 feet when contact was lost, according to ADS-B data. The final descent rate, according to FR24, was 31,000 feet per minute.

According to the Aviation Safety Network’s database, China’s last deadly passenger jet incident occurred in 2010, when a Henan Airlines Embraer ERJ190 crashed on landing at Yinchin Lindu Airport, killing 44 of the 96 passengers on board.

Unconfirmed CCTV footage shows the plane inverted as it crashed to the ground, with debris falling beside it. It’s not uncommon for planes to have structural damage at such a high rate of fall.

Investigators will have to sift through the wreckage and the plane’s black boxes – the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder – to figure out what happened in the plane’s final minutes, according to AeroTime in-house aviation expert and former pilot Captain Michel Treskin.

“There are many reasons why an aircraft is unable to recover from a dive, such as if the aircraft suffered structural damage prior to the upset,” he commented.

According to FR24’s detailed ADS-B data, the plane managed to halt the descent for a brief moment, climbing from 7,425 feet to 8,600 feet before sinking again.

“It looks like someone tried to get it out of the dive but didn’t succeed. This shows they had some control over the aircraft,” Treskin added.

In most air accident investigations, the state in which the incident happened is in charge, however, officials from the manufacturer and state of manufacturing, in this case, Boeing and the NTSB, are also anticipated to participate.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said it was watching the collision and will provide any updates via Twitter.

The aircraft, which is powered by CFM engines, took flight for the first time in 2015. It is an older Boeing 737 variant than the 737 MAX.

 

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