The flight was headed to Guangzhou, Guangdong’s capital from Kunming, Yunnan’s capital, when it lost airborne contact over the city of Wuzhou, according to the China Aviation Commission (CAC). Chilling security camera footage shared by China Aviation Review depicts the 737 plunging nose-first into a mountain from 30,000 feet, which Chinese state media outlet CGTN says occurred in southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. The crash sparked a wildfire visible from space, though the fire has since been extinguished.
Final seconds of #MU5735 pic.twitter.com/gCoMX1iMDL
— ChinaAviationReview (@ChinaAvReview) March 21, 2022
Chinese President Xi Jinping is said to have ordered an “all out” rescue operation and investigation into the cause of the crash. State media reports that fire trucks and a team of over 100 rescuers were immediately sent to the scene, with more rescue units to follow from surrounding provinces. Medical experts and ambulances have also been dispatched. At the time of writing, there have been no promising signs of survivors.
In case this story sounds grimly familiar, Boeing’s 737 line has been rife with trouble for a few years now. The difference is that issues with the 737 line have historically been associated with the 737 MAX, a newer 737 model with more aerodynamic winglets and a couple extra rows of seats. The 737 MAX has earned itself a nasty reputation between its Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines crashes, which claimed a total of 346 lives even after the FAA and Boeing employees became aware the MAX posed a safety threat. But it isn’t the 737-800, which has been considered one of the most dependable jets around since its debut in 1994.
Given the 737-800’s relatively clean safety record, it’s a little too soon to assume this particular crash occurred due to the same reasons the 737 MAX ones did. China’s investigation of the crash, which will be assisted by the US National Transportation Safety Board and possibly the FAA (which certified the 737-800 when it was first made) should reveal what went wrong in the coming months.
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