China Eastern Boeing 737 Crashes in China, 132 Reported on Board

March 21, 2022

A China Eastern Boeing 737 carrying a reported 132 passengers and crew has crashed in Southern China, the country’s Civil Aviation Administration confirmed.

There was no immediate word on injuries or fatalities. The state-run People’s Daily reported that 117 rescuers had arrived at the crash site, according to the Associated Press. China’s president, Xi Jinping, called for an “all-out effort” to be made in a rescue operation.

This aircraft is not a 737 MAX — it is part of an earlier generation of 737s called the Next Generation (NG) family. The 737 MAX faced two accidents that were tied to a flight-control system, and became heavily scrutinized as a result. China’s regulators recently paved the way for the 737 MAX to be ungrounded in the country, nearly three years after the second accident.

Hours after the crash into a mountainous area in the southern province of Guangxi, there was no word on the number of dead or injured.

The Boeing 737-800, operated by China Eastern Airlines, crashed with 123 passengers and nine crew members on board, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

The crash sparked a large fire that was extinguished. State media reported late Monday that forecast rain and the mountainous terrain at the crash site might complicate search efforts. Only debris from the wreckage had been found, according to rescuers who spoke to state-run Xinhua News Agency.

Data from the flight-tracking website Flightradar24.com shows the China Eastern Airlines flight traveling at about 30,000 feet before it suddenly dropped. The airplane was traveling at its cruising altitude speed of 523 mph, according to the data.

UPDATE: Sina news agency is reporting that China Eastern will ground its entire fleet of Boeing 737-800 planes (106 jets) pending an investigation as to the cause of the crash.

UPDATE: Boeing has released a statement:

"Our thoughts are with the passengers and crew of China Eastern Airlines Flight MU 5735. We are working with our airline customer and are ready to support them. Boeing is in contact with the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and our technical experts are prepared to assist with the investigation led by the Civil Aviation Administration of China."

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