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Tragedy: Airliner Carrying 132 People Crashes In China

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

A Boeing 737 operated by China Eastern Airlines flying from Kunming to Guangzhou crashed in a mountainous area in southern China on March 21, 2022. There were 123 passengers and nine crew members aboard the flight.

A video taken by local villagers has circulated on social media and has since gone viral.

According to the Daily Beast:

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said the aircraft, with 123 passengers and nine crew aboard, had lost contact over the city of Wuzhou. Earlier reports from Chinese state media had said there were 133 people on board.

“The CAAC has activated the emergency mechanism and sent a working group to the scene,” the CAAC said in a statement reported by Reuters. There is no word yet as to what caused the crash.

Flight MU5735 left the southwestern city of Kunming at 1:11 p.m. and had been due to land at Guanzhou at 3:05 p.m. According to data from FlightRadar24, the six-year-old Boeing 737-800 was last tracked at 2:22 p.m.

The Chinese State Media shared a post detailing the crash on Twitter.

According to CGTN (Chinese State Media), “Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered all-out efforts for rescue operations.” Over 600 rescue workers have gone to the crash site to aid at the scene.

The fire from the wreckage started a forest fire, but it was quickly put out by firefighters arriving at the site.

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All aboard are presumed lost. There have been no reports of survivors.

The airliner crashed about 150 miles away from its destination. Families and friends of the passengers waiting to pick up their loved ones from the airport in Guangzhou are now waiting for any news of survivors.

The seven-old Boeing 737 that crashed was not one of the Boeing 737 MAX planes that had formerly been grounded due to technical problems. The Boeing 737 MAX was grounded worldwide between March 2019 and December 2020. At this point, no one knows why the airliner crashed. Some unconfirmed online videos show an aircraft heading straight into the ground. Because the video is unconfirmed, I will not link it to this article. China’s Civil Aviation Administration reportedly sent investigators to the scene.

Mainland China has been relatively free of commercial airline crashes since the 1990s. I have flown on China Eastern Airlines myself. The airline holds the same Skytrax 3 star rating as Delta and United Airlines in the United States. China Eastern Airlines is state-owned and is one of China’s three big airlines. The other two are China Southern and Air China.

China’s last major commercial plane crash occurred in 2010. That flight crashed, killing 42 people.

Boeing’s stock plunged 7.8% in the premarket as the news of the crash came out. This is not the first time the company’s stock has been affected by similar news. While tragic, the stock price is not expected to drop like the MAX fiasco.

In 2019, Boeing saw $11 billion of its market value erased in 2 days due to the suspension of production of the beleaguered Boeing 737 MAX airplane. In March 2019, an Ethiopian Airline crashed using the 737 MAX, and the shares fell close to 23%, erasing almost $55 billion from the company’s market cap.