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China plane crash today: Xi Jinping calls for rescue mission in Guangxi province

Emergency services start rescue mission after passenger plane crashes in south China

A China Eastern Airlines passenger plane carrying 132 people crashed on Monday in a mountainous region in south China. Smoke could be seen rising from hills in the Guangxi province after the Boeing 737, which had 123 passengers and nine crew members onboard, went down.

The number of casualties was not immediately clear, but the People’s Daily quoted a provincial firefighting department official as saying there was no sign of life among the scattered debris.

Chinese president Xi Jinping has called for an “all-out effort” to be made in the rescue operation. He also asked for post-crash arrangements to be handled appropriately and potential safety hazards investigated to ensure complete civil aviation flight safety.

Guangxi fire department is organising 650 rescuers who are heading to the site from three directions, according to state media.

The MU5735 flight departed the southwestern city of Kunming in Yunnan at 1.11pm (5.11am GMT), according to data from tracking website FlightRadar24, and was due to land in Guangzhou, Guangdong, on the east coast near Hong Kong, at 3.05pm (7.05am GMT).

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‘It fell vertically from the sky’: Eyewitnesses recount plane crashing

Eyewitnesses have described the moment they saw a Boeing 737 plane crash into a mountainous region of southern China on Monday.

In an interview with state media outlet Beijing Youth Daily, one person described seeing a plane “falling directly from the sky” in front of him at around 2pm.

“The plane fell vertically from the sky. Although I was very far away, I could still see that it was a plane. The plane did not smoke during the fall. The fire started after it fell into the mountain, followed by a lot of smoke,” the witness, who was only identified by his surname, Liu, said.

“My heart was thumping,” he added.

In a separate interview with China News Service, a resident from Molang village in Tengxian county – close to the scene of the crash – claims to have seen “wings and pieces of the plane, as well as pieces of clothing hanging from trees” shortly after the incident.

The witness, whose name was not published, told state media he drove his motorcycle to the crash site after hearing “a huge explosion” at around 2.4pm to “see if he could participate in the rescue”. He added that he thought the accident caused around “10 acres of fire”.

Sam Hancock21 March 2022 19:30

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All 132 people onboard crashed plane feared dead

A China Eastern Airlines plane with 132 people on board crashed in southern China on Monday after a sudden descent from cruising altitude, and there was no sign of any survivors amid the wreckage in the mountains.

“We are aware of the initial media reports and are working to gather more information,” a Boeing spokesperson said afterwards.

Despite there still being no official death toll, officials in China have been quoted as telling local media there was “no sign of life” among the scattered debris.

Our reporter Chiara Giordano on today’s events:

Sam Hancock21 March 2022 19:07

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Watch: Video shows moment Chinese airliner nosedives before crashing in Guangxi

Video purportedly shows moment Chinese airliner nosedives before crashing in Guangxi

Sam Hancock21 March 2022 18:45

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China Eastern and Boeing 737: What are their safety records?

The authorities in China continue to say a passenger aircraft crashed southwest of the southern city of Wuzhou on Monday.

China Eastern, the airline involved, confirmed the news earlier.

Here’s our travel correspondent Simon Calder with everything we know so far about the tragedy:

Sam Hancock21 March 2022 18:11

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Watch: Fire rages after Boeing 737 jet ‘crashes into mountainside’ in China

Fire rages after Boeing 737 jet ‘crashes into mountainside’ in China

Sam Hancock21 March 2022 17:47

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In images: Rescue operation underway for crashed plane

China’s CGTN channel has been tweeting photographs of the crash site throughout the day.

In the state-run organisation’s latest post, rescue workers are reportedly pictured carrying out their operation to recovery any survivors or bodies from the crashed plane.

It comes after parts of the plane were captured and published online.

Sam Hancock21 March 2022 17:33

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Video appears to show Boeing 737 nosedive before crashing in Guangxi

A clip published by Chinese media appears to show the moment a passenger plane carrying 132 people nosedives before crashing in Guangxi.

Horrifying footage shows the Boeing 737 plummeting straight down into a mountainous area near the city of Wuzhou. The plane, operated by China Eastern, was travelling from Kunming City to Guangzhou.

Xi Jinping, China’s president, has called for investigators to determine the cause of the crash, but has been reported by The People’s Daily that “there is no sign of life among the scattered debris”.

Video purportedly shows moment Chinese plane nosedives before crashing in Guangxi

A video published by Chinese media appears to show the moment a passenger plane carrying 132 people nosedives before crashing in Guangxi.Horrifying footage shows the Boeing 737 plummeting straight down into a mountainous area near the city of Wuzhou.The plane, operated by China Eastern, was travelling from Kunming City to Guangzhou.Xi Jinping, China’s president, has called for investigators to determine the cause of the crash, but has been reported by The People’s Daily that “there is no sign of life among the scattered debris”.Click here to sign up to our newsletters.

Sam Hancock21 March 2022 17:02

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Pictured: Police in China block off route to crash site

Police officers stand guard at the entrance of a village leading to the site of a plane crash near Wuzhou city in China’s southern Guangxi region

(AFP via Getty Images)

The plane is said to have dropped thousands of metres in just three minutes

(AFP via Getty Images)

Sam Hancock21 March 2022 16:32

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BA sends condolences to crash victims’ friends and families

The British-based carrier tweeted:

Sam Hancock21 March 2022 16:11

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Context: China’s airline safety record ‘good’ – but lacks transparency

Following the crash today, here’s some background on China’s airline safety record, as reported by Reuters.

It has been among the best in the world for a decade but is less transparent than in countries like the US and Australia where regulators release detailed reports on non-fatal incidents.

According to Aviation Safety Network, China’s last fatal jet accident was in 2010, when 44 of 96 people on board were killed after an Embraer E-190 regional jet flown by Henan Airlines crashed on approach to Yichun airport.

In 1994, a China Northwest Airlines Tupolev Tu-154 crashed en route from Xian to Guangzhou, killing all 160 onboard in China’s worst-ever air disaster, according to Aviation Safety Network.

Monday’s disaster was the first fatal crash for China Eastern since 2004, when a plane crashed shortly after it took off from an airport in north China, killing 55, according to ASN.

Shanghai-based China Eastern was created in 1988 and is one of the largest three airlines in China, with one of the youngest fleet of planes. It ranked in recent years among the ten largest carriers in total passengers carried.

It is part of the SkyTeam Alliance and US carrier Delta Air Lines holds a 2 per cent stake.

Sam Hancock21 March 2022 16:06

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