China Eastern Airlines confirmed there had been fatalities after a jet carrying 132 people crashed into a mountain in southern China on Monday (March 21), shortly after losing contact with air traffic control and dropping thousands of metres in just three minutes.
The Boeing 737-800 flight from the city of Kunming to the southern hub of Guangzhou “lost airborne contact over Wuzhou” city in the Guangxi region on Monday afternoon, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).
The jet was carrying 123 passengers and nine crew members.
China Eastern confirmed late Monday that at least some people involved in the crash had been killed, without providing more information or giving details on any survivors.
“The company expresses its deep condolences for the passengers and crew members who died in the plane crash,” the airline said in a statement.
The disaster prompted an unusually swift public reaction from president Xi Jinping, who said he was “shocked” and ordered an immediate investigation into its cause.
Hundreds of firefighters were dispatched to the scene in Teng county near Wuzhou, state media reported, as nearby villagers rushed to help the rescue effort.