Beijing: Chinese President Xi Jinping said he was “shocked” by Monday’s crash of a passenger plane carrying 132 people in the country’s southwest and called for an investigation into the accident, state media reported.
“We are shocked to learn of the China Eastern MU5735 accident,” state broadcaster CCTV reported Xi saying, while he also called for “all efforts” towards the rescue and to find out the “cause of the accident as soon as possible”.
China’s Premier Li Keqiang also instructed officials to spare no effort in searching for survivors and to provide sufficient comfort to the victims’ families.
However, local reports stated that rescue workers had found no sign of survivors.
The media cited a rescue official as saying the plane had disintegrated and caused a fire destroying bamboo trees. The People’s Daily quoted a provincial firefighting department official as saying there was no sign of life among the scattered debris.
The Boeing 737 flight from Kunming city to the southern hub of Guangzhou “lost airborne contact over Wuzhou” city in the Guangxi region, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said in an online announcement.
Flight Mu5735, in its final seconds, was seen in a nosedive at a great speed before it crashed into the mountains.
— ChinaAviationReview (@ChinaAvReview) March 21, 2022
According to Aviation Safety Network, China’s air safety record has been among the best in the world over the past decade. China’s last fatal jet accident was in 2010, when 44 of 96 people on board were killed when an Embraer E-190 regional jet flown by Henan Airlines crashed on approach to the Yichun airport in low visibility.
In 1994, a China Northwest Airlines Tupolev Tu-154 flying from Xian to Guangzhou was destroyed in an accident after takeoff, killing all 160 people on board and ranking as China’s worst-ever air disaster, according to Aviation Safety Network.
The 737-800 model that crashed on Monday has a good safety record and is the predecessor to the 737 MAX model that has been grounded in China for more than three years following fatal crashes in 2018 in Indonesia and 2019 in Ethiopia.
Aviation data provider OAG said this month that state-owned China Eastern Airlines was the world’s sixth-largest by scheduled weekly seat capacity and the biggest in China. China has had a relatively strong domestic aviation market during the coronavirus pandemic despite tight curbs on international flights.