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Boeing 737 Plane With 132 People On Board Crashes In China

Boeing 737 With 132 People On Board Crashes In China

According to officials and flight-tracking data, a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 with 132 people on board fell mid-flight and crashed in a hilly area of southern China on Monday.

According to FlightRadar24, Flight MU5735 departed Kunming at 1:11 p.m. local time (1:11 a.m. ET) and was scheduled to arrive in Guangzhou, China’s southeast, in less than two hours.

The jet was travelling at 29,100 feet when it began a rapid drop at 2:20 p.m., temporarily recovering more than 1,000 feet before continuing the plunge. In less than two minutes, it plummeted more than 25,000 feet.

“This kind of disaster is incredibly rare,” said Richard Aboulafia, managing director of AeroDynamic Advisory, citing the plane’s abrupt, steep descent from cruising altitude.

China’s Civil Aviation Administration announced that a team would be dispatched to the crash scene in Guangxi. Investigators will try to recover “black boxes,” which contain cockpit voice recordings and flight data. They’ll probably look at the plane’s previous trips, maintenance history, weather data, and pilot health as well.

The collision, according to Chinese official media, triggered a fire in the mountains. On social media, there was video showing fire and smoke in the mountains, as well as a portion of a plane along a dirt route. Officials in China have not confirmed any passenger deaths.

According to the Aviation Safety Network database, if all 123 passengers and nine crew members are confirmed killed, it will be China’s deadliest aircraft crash since 1994 and the deadliest ever for China Eastern Airlines.

According to aviation statistics and consulting firm Cirium, the 737-800 has one of the best safety records of any aircraft, with only 11 fatal incidents out of more than 7,000 planes delivered to customers since 1997.

The Boeing 737-800 that crashed in China on Monday was first flown in June 2015. It wasn’t a Boeing 737 Max, which has been grounded globally following two tragic incidents in 2018 and 2019.

China Eastern Airlines issued a statement on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, confirming the incident and the number of persons on board. The airline said it is dispatching personnel to the disaster site and has established a hotline for family members.

The Federal Aviation Administration in the United States said it was aware of the disaster and will help with the inquiry “if requested.”

When a crash happens, the inquiry is usually led by the country where the crash occurred. The National Transportation Safety Board has appointed an investigator for Flight 5735’s disaster because it was a U.S.-made plane. Boeing, as the maker, and the FAA, as its regulator, will certainly assist.

Boeing issued a statement saying, “Our sympathies are with the passengers and crew of China Eastern Airlines Flight MU 5735.” “Boeing is in contact with the National Transportation Safety Board in the United States, and our technical specialists are ready to assist with the Chinese Civil Aviation Administration’s inquiry.”

In a show of sadness, China Eastern, China’s second-largest carrier by capacity, altered the colors of its website and social media pages to black and white.

According to state broadcaster CCTV, Chinese President Xi Jinping was “shocked” to learn about the incident. He directed China Eastern, based in Shanghai, to arrange search and rescue efforts and launch an investigation into the crash’s cause.

According to the ASN database, the last fatal commercial passenger aircraft crash in China occurred in 2010, when 42 passengers died aboard a Henan Airlines Embraer E-190 flight.

Boeing’s stock fell 3.5 percent in Monday’s session. Spirit AeroSystems, which manufactures 737 fuselages, also sold 3.5 percent of its stock.

According to Cirium, there are more than 4,200 737-800s in service worldwide, with 1,177 in Chinese airline fleets — the most of any country.

Following the two Max crashes, Boeing has been attempting to rebuild its reputation. After the second of two crashes within five months of one another, the Boeing 737 Max was grounded worldwide in March 2019.

On October 29, 2018, Lion Air Flight 610 crashed in Indonesia, and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed on March 10, 2019. The crashes killed all 346 passengers on board the two planes.

Following the second crash, China was the first country to ground the Max. The jets were authorized to return to service by the US and most other countries more than a year ago. In December, Chinese regulators approved the Max’s return to operation with modifications, but the planes have yet to return to duty.

Boeing has been preparing to resume deliveries of its best-selling Max plane to China, which is an important milestone because airlines pay the majority of an aircraft’s price when it is delivered.

“If Boeing is unable to supply 737s to China, it will be even more difficult to lower the company’s 737 inventory, making it even more difficult to increase production from the [31 planes per month] scheduled for this year,” JP Morgan Boeing analyst Seth Seifman wrote in a note Monday.

The plane that crashed on Monday was a 737NG, or next generation, which was the aircraft before the 737 Max.

Boeing posted its third annual loss in a row in January, citing $5.5 billion in costs related to manufacturing defects that have forced the company to halt 787 Dreamliner deliveries for the past 17 months.

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