Chinese recovery teams were today picking through the debris of a crashed China Eastern jet after it inexplicably plunged from the sky into a mountainside yesterday with 132 people on board.
The Chinese Boeing 737-800 crashed into a mountainside with no survivors, and rescue workers speculated that the fire resulting from the collision had killed the passengers and their belongings, before causing damage to the surrounding forest.
China Eastern yesterday grounded all of its Boeing 737-800 aircraft after the incident, in which the aircraft unexpectedly nose-dived and plunged 30,000 feet in two minutes before slamming into the ground at 350 mph.
The incident represents China’s deadliest air crash in almost three decades. The deadliest Chinese commercial flight misfortune was a China Northwest Airlines crash in 1994, which killed all 160 onboard.
President Xi Jinping quickly named for a full investigation following the collision as search teams, firefighters and other personnel descended upon the area in a rural region of Guangxi province.
State media showed uniformed search teams climbing over a scene of upturned earth, blasted trees and scattered debris, including a section of aircraft bearing the carrier’s blue and red livery.
Other crews were shown launching drones, in a search mission complicated by the steep terrain and thick vegetation.
The airline earlier on Monday acknowledged that some aboard the jet, which was transiting from the municipality of Kunming to the southern hub of Guangzhou, had perished, but didn’t offer more particulars.
China Eastern said in a statement late Monday without supplying more details that the company expressed its deepest condolences for the passengers and crew members who perished in the plane wreck.
Families of the passengers and crew members were still waiting to hear more details about the tragedy.
Local villagers were the first to arrive at the crash site on Monday, where the plane sparked a fire large enough to be captured on NASA satellite images.
Hundreds of rescue workers were subsequently dispatched from Guangxi and the neighbouring Guangdong province.
State broadcaster CCTV said China Eastern set up nine teams to deal with the disposal of the aircraft, accident investigation, family assistance and other pressing matters.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and China Eastern both said they also dispatched officials to the crash site.
State media reported all 737-800s in the airline’s fleet were ordered grounded following the collision. The model is the predecessor to the controversial 737 Max model but was considered safe despite a string of crashes over its lengthy history.
We just take it for granted that it’s safe to fly, but it’s not and aeroplanes are just extremely complex machines and anything can happen, and it must have been terrifying for those passengers and crew as the aeroplane went down.
However, we believe that the risk in flying is relative, and that flight is much safer than any other type of transportation, and even though aeroplanes are very well maintained and crews are skillfully trained there are still risks, the same as getting into a car or train.
The Chinese will know and probably say something in due course. Black boxes are designed to endure an impact and fire, but it will take time to sift through the whole wreckage before anyone knows anything.
This was an absolutely horrific plane crash and people lost their lives, but there was no need for such graphical reporting which of course would have added more distress to their families reading those reports.
This entire event was quite shocking and aeroplanes don’t just fall out of the sky, and hopefully, the families of the departed will get the answers that they’re looking for.