China’s Civil Aviation Administration confirmed that a passenger plane carrying more than 130 people on board crashed Monday afternoon in a mountainous region of southern China, prompting rescue teams to rush to the steep, tree-drenched site in the hope of finding survivors.
Initial Chinese news reports said a Boeing 737, operated by China Eastern Airlines, crashed in the Guangxi region, and flames and smoke were seen rising from a hill. common of the scene. The fire was put out later in the day.
“The situation with the victims is still unclear,” said an online report by Chinese state television.
Residents of the area reporters That the plane appeared to have crashed amid wreckage, dimming hopes of finding survivors.
Initial reports said the plane, Flight 5735, crashed in Teng County in Guangxi while flying from Kunming, a city in southwest China, to the southernmost city of Guangzhou. The plane was carrying 132 passengers, including 123 passengers and 9 crew members, according to the Civil Aviation Administration. Government media reports initially said 133 passengers were on board.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping issued a quick statement calling on rescuers to do their best and “deal with the repercussions in an appropriate manner.” The Chinese central government has sent officials to the scene of the accident to deal with the disaster and investigate its causes.
“Ensure the absolute safety of civil aviation operations,” Mr. Xi said in his instructions.
Officials in China have sent nearly 1,000 firefighters and 100 local militia members on a rescue mission to the site. According to the Guangxi Fire Department, 117 emergency workers with about two dozen fire trucks have arrived at the scene.
Flight data indicated that the plane, about seven years old, was flying steadily on this flight until it suddenly lost altitude at around 2:20 pm.
The plane was not a Boeing 737 Max, the model that has not resumed flying in China after a ban imposed by fatal crashes in China. Indonesia in 2018 And the Ethiopia in 2019. But Chinese airlines began issuing new orders for the Max after Chinese aviation authorities indicated late last year that the model could resume flying after some adjustments and safety measures were introduced.
This accident could become one of the worst air disasters in China in many years, after a series of fatal accidents in the 1990s. Over the past two decades, the country has established a relatively safe flight record, thanks to a nascent fleet of aircraft and stricter air controls.
China’s news service reported that firefighters in Teng County were first alerted to a possible aviation accident there in the afternoon, when villagers reported that they came across a plane wreck.
John LiuAnd the Liu YiAnd the Claire Vogue And the Amy Chang Shen Contribute to the preparation of reports.
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