On Monday, a China Eastern Airlines jet carrying 133 passengers crashed in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in south China. According to China Central Television, the plane crashed in the city of Wuzhou, in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region of China, starting a forest fire (CCTV). The Russian News Agency stated that search and rescue activities are ongoing, according to CCTV.
Media said there was no sign of survivors and the airline said it deeply mourned the passengers and crew who had died according to Reuters.
According to flight monitoring website FlightRadar24, the jet dropped at a final velocity of 31,000 feet per minute. China Eastern stated the reason of the incident was under investigation.
The airline said it set up a hotline for relatives of those on board and dispatched a team to the crash scene.
According to media, the plane collapsed and ignited a fire that destroyed bamboo trees, Reuters reported. A provincial firefighting department official was reported in the People’s Daily as claiming that there was no trace of life among the rubble.
The plane, which was carrying 123 passengers and nine crew members, lost communication over Wuzhou, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and the airline.
At 0620 GMT, the plane, which Flightradar24 indicated was six years old, was travelling at an altitude of 29,100 feet. Data revealed it had dropped to 9,075 feet in just over two minutes and 15 seconds.
Its last tracked altitude was 3,225 feet after another 20 seconds.
Even though the cruising phase of flight accounts for the bulk of flight time, crashes are uncommon.
Only 13% of deadly commercial accidents happened during the cruise phase between 2011 and 2020, according to a data published by Boeing last year, but 28% of fatal accidents occurred on final approach and 26% on landing.
“Usually the plane is on auto-pilot during cruise stage. So it is very hard to fathom what happened,” said Li Xiaojin, a Chinese aviation expert, according to Reuters. “From a technical point of view, something like this should not have happened.”
At the time of the incident, online weather data in Wuzhou indicated partly overcast skies with decent visibility.
According to official broadcaster CCTV, President Xi Jinping asked for investigators to identify the reason of the disaster as quickly as possible and to maintain “absolute” aviation safety.