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A China Eastern Boeing 737-800 in the same livery as the aircraft that crashed in China. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Lei Yan)

China Eastern Boeing 737-800 Crashes in Southern China

Editors Note: This is a developing story. We will provide updates as more information becomes available.

On the afternoon of March 21, a China Eastern Boeing 737-800 flying domestically from Kunming to Guangzhou crashed in a mountainous of Southern China. According to official sources, the aircraft had 123 passengers and 9 crew members on board flight MU5735. As of the time of publishing, local authorities have not provided any more information regarding the crash.

The aircraft went down in the Guangxi province, which lies on the country’s border with Vietnam, outside the city of Wuzhou, at approximately 06:22 am UTC.

According to the data from Flightradar24, flight MU5735 flew normally during the first hour of flight. Then, the aircraft experienced a violent descent from 29,000 feet down to 3,000 feet within three minutes. After that, the signal of the aircraft was lost.

The aircraft, a Boeing 737-800 registered B-1791, was delivered to China Eastern in 2015 and had a paint scheme with a special peacock livery, a symbol of the Yunnan province. The Boeing 737 was configured as a two-class cabin with 150 economy class seats in a 3-3 configuration preceded by 12 business class seats in a 2-2 format.

China Eastern is one of the three state-owned airlines in China and has rich experience operating the Boeing 737-800. According to data on planespotters.net, China Eastern Airlines Group operates 291 of this type of aircraft.

Based on the images and videos posted on social media, there appears to be a large area on fire at the ridge of a mountain. Officials said that the rescue team is gathered and on its way to search for survivors.

Last month, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) celebrated 100 million continuous safe flight hours since the nation’s last major accident in 2010. At this time, the clock will almost certainly be reset.

The United States Federal Aviation Administraiton, FAA, released a statement saying, “FAA is aware of reports that a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane crashed this morning in China. The agency is ready to assist in investigation efforts if asked.”

Thus far, China Eastern and Boeing have not provided any comment. China Eastern changed its website to black-and-white shortly after the accident, as did the Boeing China website.

Author

  • Lei is from Inner Mongolia, China, and now lives in Guangzhou. He grew up in an aviation family, where his passion began. During his time at Penn State University, he studied Industrial Engineering specializing in operations research, and he graduated with an honor’s thesis on airport gate assignment optimization. Now, he is a Purchasing Manager with Procter & Gamble. In his free time, he enjoys flying, reading, and wandering around the city.

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