No word on survivors after Boeing 737 crash in China, with 132 on board

CHICAGO (SCS) — It is believed that there are no survivors after a Boeing 737 crashed in Chinawith 132 people on board, making it this country’s worst air disaster in nearly a decade.

China Eastern Airlines flight MU5735 disappeared from radar and crashed early Monday morning in Teng County near Wuzhou and ‘ignited a mountain fire’, state broadcaster CCTV said, citing the provincial bureau. emergency management.

The Boeing 737-800 from Kunming city to the southern hub of Guangzhou “lost air contact over Wuzhou city” in the Guangxi region, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said earlier. (CAAC).

The crash site was about 150 miles from the Guangzhou destination, meaning the plane had traveled about 500 miles before crashing.

The plane was carrying 123 passengers and 9 flight crew, and there were no signs of survivors.

Terrifying footage shared on social media by a local news source in China shows the Boeing 737 plunging directly into a mountainous area near the city of Wuzhou and disappearing. Flames and smoke could be seen rising from the side of the hill.

Information on the Flightradar24 aircraft tracking website stopped transmitting just over an hour into the flight. Tracking data shows the flight was moving at normal cruising altitude, when it suddenly entered a deep nose-dive

Rescue teams rushed to the area where the China Eastern flight crashed. Hundreds of firefighters were dispatched to the scene, hoping to find survivors, but found only debris and fire

The rugged terrain could make this rescue mission difficult and impact what is likely to be a lengthy investigation.

The aircraft was delivered to China Eastern in 2015 and had been flying for over six years.

The twin-engine single-aisle Boeing 737 is one of the world’s most widely used passenger aircraft for short- and medium-haul flights. China Eastern operates various versions of the 737, including the 737-800, which crashed on Monday, and the 737 Max, which was grounded worldwide after two fatal crashes.

China’s aviation regulator only allowed the Max to return to service late last year – the last national regulator to do so in a major travel market.

Chicago-based Boeing has agreed to pay more than $2.5 billion in penalties and compensation to settle criminal charges filed by federal prosecutors accusing the company of conspiracy to defraud the FAA over design flaws in its 737 Max jets, which were involved in two fatal crashes months apart.

Under the agreement, Boeing agreed to pay a $243.6 million fine, $500 million in compensation to survivors of the 346 passengers killed in the Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Flight 302 crashes. Airlines, and $1.77 billion in compensation to Boeing airline customers. .

The entire Boeing 737 Max fleet was grounded for nearly two years following an airliner crash in Ethiopia in March 2019, which came just five months after another 737 Max accident in Indonesia in October 2018.

Boeing also accepted more than $237 million settlement with shareholders on its 737-Max crashes.

As part of the deal, Boeing had to add another director to its board with experience in aviation, engineering or product safety.

The settlement also required Boeing to publish annual public reports on safety-related improvements.

Separately, last May, the company was fined $17 million and promised to take action to resolve production issues with its 737 jets. The company could pay up to $10 million more if it doesn’t fix quality control issues.

The FAA says the rule covers the installation of unapproved sensors and other parts on some of Boeing’s 737 models.

737-Max plane crashes in 2018 and 2019 killed 346 people.

CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave said the 737-800 is part of the “next generation” family of Boeing’s 737 lineup. More than 7,000 have been built, with fewer than 25 crashes rendering the planes inoperable since their first flight in 1997. available on flight tracking websites. The incredibly steep dive shown in the video – an angle of nearly 90 degrees – is highly unusual in an aviation accident.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Authority told CBS News in a statement on Monday that it was “aware of reports that a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 has crashed” in China. The agency said it was ready to help with the accident investigation ‘if requested’ by Chinese authorities, as well as the National Transportation Safety Board, but noted that China would take the lead by default. .

A villager told a local news site that the plane involved in the crash had ‘completely collapsed’ and he saw nearby forest areas destroyed by a fire started when the plane crashed on the side of the mountain.

The crash could become one of China’s worst aviation disasters in more than a decade.

China has enjoyed an enviable record of aviation safety in recent years in a country crisscrossed with newly built airports and serviced by new airlines created to match the country’s meteoric growth in recent decades.

A Henan Airlines flight crashed in northeastern Heilongjiang province in 2010, killing at least 42 of the 92 people on board, although the final death toll has never been confirmed.

This is the latest accident on a Chinese commercial flight to have resulted in civilian casualties. The deadliest Chinese commercial flight accident was a 1994 China Northwest Airlines crash that killed all 160 people on board.

Most of the passengers on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared in March 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, were from China.


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