All About Last Week’s China Eastern Airlines Plane Crash

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Early last week in the news was a plane crash in southern China that killed over 100 people, including passengers and crew members. This crash was one of the most significant aviation disasters in recent memory, so read on below to learn exactly what happened.

What happened?

On Monday last week, a Boeing 737 crashed in the mountains in southern China. The plane was owned by China Eastern Airlines and was carrying 132 people from Kunming to Guangzhou.

Near the city of Wuzhou, the plane stopped transmitting data and suddenly took a deep dive, crashing in the Guangxi region of China.

How did China respond?

An emergency rescue team was sent to the crash site, and Guanxi’s fire services sent firefighters to put out the wildfire started by the crash. President Xi Jinping ordered authorities to “ensure the absolute safety of civil aviation operations” alongside an all-out rescue attempt for any passengers or crew members that may have survived.

China Eastern Airlines temporarily took 223 Boeing 737s out of the sky and performed maintenance and safety inspections on all of them to ensure that they’re safe to fly and that this problem isn’t widespread. No issues were discovered, and 737s will continue to be a central part of operations for China Eastern Airlines and other airlines around the world.

Did anyone survive?

Search parties explored the area for several days last week, searching through plane debris to try to find any survivors. On Saturday, however, China’s Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC) confirmed that all 132 passengers had been killed.

As of Saturday, CAAC has DNA-identified 120 victims, including 114 passengers and six crew members. The full 132 people on board consisted of 123 passengers and nine crew members. China Eastern Airlines has sent their condolences to the families of any who died and will make information regarding the crash public when they’ve discovered the cause of it.

What caused the crash?

The cause of the crash hasn’t yet been discovered, as the plane crashed in a densely forested mountain area and the debris covered a wide area, making it difficult to assess the crash and find out what went wrong.

The flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder have been found and were sent to Beijing for testing on Wednesday last week, and the information there may be able to provide some insight into the cause of the crash. Search teams also found an emergency locator transmitter from the wreckage that may be of use.

The worst air disaster in China in over a decade

Last week’s crash was the worst there’s been in China in years and the first major aviation disaster since a 2010 crash at Yichun Lindu Airport that killed 42 people. China Eastern Airlines has performed a complete overhaul of its safety measures, and we can expect to see other Chinese airlines – and other airlines that use the 737 as a workhorse – to revisit their safety protocols as well.

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