Boeing 737 crashed at 350 MPH in moments before crash in China with 132 on board

Watch: Fire rages after Boeing 737 jet ‘crashes into mountainside’ in China

A Boeing 737 plane with 132 people on board has crashed into a mountainous area in southern China in what appears to be the country’s deadliest plane crash in decades.

The plane, on a flight from Kunming city to Guangzhou, slammed into a thick bamboo forest on a hill in Guanxi province. Thick smoke and huge flames were seen on a video posted by the South China Morning Mail but it was unclear if there was already a fire in the area.

Tracking data showed that the plane crossed at 29,100 feet at 2:20 p.m. About two minutes later it had dropped to just over 9,000 feet and 20 seconds after that to just 3,225 feet. FlightRadar said this indicated a vertical drop of 31,000 feet per minute — or about 350 mph.

Another video circulating on social media, the authenticity of which The Daily Beast could not immediately verify, appeared to show the plane crashing into the ground in a vertical position. US government-backed Radio Free Asia reported that the video was captured by CCTV in a mine.

Radio Free Asia

“Can confirm that the plane crashed,” China Eastern Airlines said in a statement announcing a special hotline for family members of passengers.

Flight MU5735 left the southwestern city of Kunming at 1:11 PM and was scheduled to land in Guanzhou at 3:05 PM. According to FlightRadar24 data, the six-year-old Boeing 737-800 was last tracked at 2:22 p.m.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said the plane, with 123 passengers and nine crew on board, had lost contact over the city of Wuzhou. Earlier reports from Chinese state media had said 133 people were on board.

Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed shock at the news and called for “every effort” in the rescue operation. But according to a fire officer quoted by the statesman popular newspaper, there was no sign of life among the rubble.

WatchChina passenger plane crashes

Once known as a black spot for plane crashes, China has cleaned up its act in recent years by investing in a young modern fleet of planes and strict security checks.

China’s last fatal plane crash is believed to have been in 2010, when a Henan Airlines Embraer E-190 jet crashed while approaching Yichun airport in poor visibility. Forty-four of the 96 people on board were killed.

The deadliest crash in mainland China occurred in June 1994, when a Tupolev TU-154 broke down mid-flight, killing all 160 people on board.

Boeing began making the 737-800, a narrow-body, single-aisle commuter airliner in the mid-1990s, supplying 5,200 to airlines around the world before being phased out two years ago. China Eastern has more than 100 of the planes it has now grounded while investigating Monday’s crash.

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