A China Eastern passenger plane carrying 132 people, 123 passengers and 9 crew, crashed in southern China on Monday, the state-owned airline confirmed.
According to reports, emergency responders arrive at the crash site later on Monday morning, but the fear is that there are no survivors.
The flight, MU5735, was traveling to Guangzhou from Kumming, the capital of China’s Yunnan province, a route that typically takes under two hours. Flight tracking software shows that the plan went down in Wuzhou, a mountainous area in the eastern section of Guangxi, after descending rapidly at a final rate of 31,000 feet per minute.
The plane, a Boeing 737-800, is not the same model of Boeing aircraft that was involved in two fatal crashes that killed 346 people in 2019. Both those crashes took place on Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, a model that was then banned in China.
The Boeing 737-800 is China Eastern’s second most popular model of aircraft in its fleet—the carrier flies 108 planes of that model, only less than the 177 of Airbus A320-200 it flies.
The 737-800 is a generally popular model of aircraft for carriers around the world, including Alaska Airlines, which operates 61 of the model, American Airlines, which operates over 300, Southwest, which operates 207, Southwest, which operates 456, and WestJet, which operates 38.
What caused Monday’s crash is still unknown, however, Chinese state-media CGTN reported that China Eastern has already moved to ground all of its Boeing 737-800 aircraft after the crash.
Boeing, talking to Reuters on Monday, said it was “working to gather more information” about the crash.”
Chinese airlines have been known for a high safety record—the China Eastern plane is the first one to crash in China since 2010 and the body that governs China’s aviation industry, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), recently reported that the country’s airlines have gone 100 million flight hours without any fatal accidents.
For its part, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the U.S. said in a statement on Monday that it was “aware of reports that a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane crashed this morning in China” and that “the agency is ready to assist in investigation efforts if asked.”
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) also issued a statement on Monday, writing “we are shocked and saddened by the crash of China Eastern flight MU5723. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the passengers and crew on the flight.”