China plane crash: Eastern Airlines Boeing 737 carrying 133 crashes in Guangxi

A China Eastern passenger jet carrying 133 people has crashed in southwest China with an unknown number of casualties.

A China Eastern passenger jet carrying 133 people has crashed in southwest China and caused a mountain fire with casualties unknown, state broadcaster CCTV reported Monday.

The Boeing 737 plane crashed in the rural countryside near Wuzhou city, Guangxi region and “caused a mountain fire”, CCTV said, citing the provincial emergency management bureau.

Shocking footage emerging from the site of the crash shows fire ripping through a forest on a mountain — sending plumes of smokes into the air.

The report added that rescue teams were dispatched to the scene. CCTV said a “China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737 plane carrying 133 people has crashed in Teng county, Wuzhou, Guangxi, and caused a mountain fire.”

Local media reported that China Eastern flight MU5735 had not arrived at its scheduled destination in Guangzhou after it took off from the city of Kunming shortly after 1pm (4pm AEDT) Monday, citing airport staff.

The China Eastern flight departed at 1:11 pm, FlightRadar24 data showed and had been due to land at 3:05 pm. The flight tracking ended at 2:22 pm.

The plane stopped transmitting data just southwest of the Chinese city of Wuzhou. The aircraft was delivered to China Eastern from Boeing in June 2015 and had been flying for over six years.

The twin-engine, single aisle Boeing 737 is one of the world’s most popular planes for short and medium-haul flights.

China Eastern operates multiple versions of the common aircraft, including the 737-800 and the 737 Max.

The 737 Max version was grounded worldwide after two fatal crashes. China’s aviation regulator cleared that plane to return to service late last year, making the nation the last major market to do so.

China’s last deadly crash of a civilian plane was in 2010.

There was no immediate response from China Eastern when contacted by AFP.

Serious questions asked about Boeing

The crash comes amid falling trust in Boeing after two crashes involving the planes in recent years.

The iconic company, created in 1916, introduced the commercial jet that made flying affordable for most people and for many years was the most popular supplier of aircraft to airlines around the world.

Most of us have who have flown have been on a Boeing plane. At any minute there are around 10,000 Boeing planes in service in more than 150 countries around the globe.

But that trust was shaken when two planes fell out of the sky killing hundreds, within months of each other — Lion Air Flight 610 which crashed in Indonesia in 2018, killing 189 people, and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 which claimed 157 lives when it crashed in Ethiopia.

What was extremely shocking was they were both brand new planes, the 737 Max.

Jon Ostrower, Editor in Chief of aviation publication The Air Current said: “Two crashes of brand new aeroplanes within five months of each other, that doesn’t happen in modern aviation.”

When the Lion Air plane was downed, initially there was a lot of finger-pointing and the heat was turned on the pilots. Nobody could believe the brand new plane could be the problem.

– more to come

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