A China Eastern Airlines plane carrying 132 people crashed on Monday in the mountains of southern China. Chinese President Xi Jinping called for an “all-out effort” to be made in order to conduct a rescue operation.
The Boeing 737 plane was en route from Kunming, a southwestern Chinese city, to Guangzhou. It lost contact with control over the city of Wuzhou. The 132 people were made up of 123 passengers and nine crew members.
China’s Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC) posted a statement online after the crash. China Eastern Airlines confirmed the details and said that it had activated emergency procedures. This includes opening a telephone line for emergency assistance for family members of those who were on the plane.
Rescue efforts are underway, but there have been no survivors so far, making the number of casualties overall unknown. It is feared that bad weather and limited accessibility to where the plane crashed will severely hamper rescue efforts. Heavy equipment for rescues was unable to make it on the scene.
The fire department for Guangxi city has organized approximately 650 rescuers to head to the site.
Also not determined are the potential causes of the plane crash. The airplane lost contact with emergency services, and then it began to suddenly descend. The altitude of the plane sharply dropped from 29,098 feet to 4,375 feet in three minutes.
After the crash, CCTV reported that the airline will be grounding all of its Boeing 737-800 airplanes.
The Boeing 737 Max version was grounded around the world after two fatal crashes. Late last year in 2021, China’s aviation regulator cleared the plane to return to service.
In January 2020, there was a deadly crash involving a Boeing 737-800, the same plane as today’s crash, when Iran’s paramilitary Revolution Guard accidentally shot down the plane. It was a Ukraine International Airlines flight with 176 people on board, all of whom were killed.