|Date||21 March 2022|
|Summary||Crashed into terrain, under investigation|
|Site||Teng County, Wuzhou, Guangxi, China |
23°19′27″N 111°06′43″E / 23.32417°N 111.11194°ECoordinates: 23°19′27″N 111°06′43″E / 23.32417°N 111.11194°E
|Aircraft type||Boeing 737-89P|
|Operator||China Eastern Yunnan Airlines|
(subsidiary of China Eastern Airlines)
|IATA flight No.||MU5735|
|ICAO flight No.||CES5735|
|Call sign||CHINA EASTERN 5735|
|Flight origin||Kunming Changshui International Airport|
|Destination||Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport|
China Eastern Airlines Flight 5735 was a scheduled domestic passenger flight in China from Kunming to Guangzhou. On 21 March 2022, the Boeing 737-89P aircraft operating the service descended steeply mid-flight and struck the ground at high speed in Teng County, Wuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, killing all 123 passengers and 9 crew members.
The aircraft departed Kunming Changshui International Airport for Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport at 13:15 CST (05:15 UTC) and was scheduled to land at 15:05 (07:05 UTC). The aircraft had been scheduled to travel earlier from Baoshan to Kunming, but this segment of the journey was temporarily suspended due to low passenger numbers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic in mainland China.
Contact with the aircraft was lost over the city of Wuzhou. At 14:22 (06:22 UTC), while approaching its top of descent into Guangzhou, the aircraft entered a sudden steep descent from 29,100 feet (8,900 m). It briefly leveled off and climbed from 7,400 ft (2,300 m) to 8,600 ft (2,600 m), but then plunged downwards again, reaching a final recorded altitude of 3,225 ft (983 m) less than two minutes after the beginning of the descent, with a maximum descent rate of nearly 31,000 feet (9,400 m) per minute. The aircraft crashed in the mountainous regions of Teng County causing a fire in vegetation.
Residents of the villages surrounding the crash site heard a loud explosion and the crash was filmed by the security camera of a local mining company. Footage from the crash site showed wreckage and a fire. Many smaller pieces of wreckage were scattered in the surrounding area. All of the plane's occupants were killed. It was the first fatal crash involving China Eastern Airlines since November 2004.
The aircraft involved was a Boeing 737-89P[a] (737NG or 737 Next Generation) with the registration B-1791 and serial number 41474. The aircraft was powered by two CFM56-7B26E turbofans. It was first flown on 5 June 2015 and was delivered new to China Eastern Airlines on 25 June 2015. It was painted in the airline's Yunnan Peacock livery.
The 737-800 has a solid safety record, with 11 previous fatal accidents (the first in September 2006) out of more than 7,000 planes delivered since 1997. It is not equipped with the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) used on the newer 737 MAX that led to two fatal accidents in 2018 and 2019 and the grounding of the fleet.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and the airline reported 123 passengers and 9 crew members to be on the flight, for a total of 132 people. All were Chinese.
The flight crew consisted of three pilots, five flight attendants and an in-flight security guard.
Local authorities dispatched 450 firefighters to the scene of the accident. Firefighters were dispatched by the Wuzhou Fire and Rescue Department at 15:05 CST. At 15:56, firefighters from nearby Tangbu arrived, and at 16:40, firefighters from outside Wuzhou were dispatched from Guilin, Beihai, Hezhou, Laibin and Hechi.
Rescue crews initially had difficulty accessing the site because of a forest fire which was extinguished by 17:25. By evening, 117 out of 650 dispatched rescuers had arrived, and they headed to the site from three directions. Aircraft wreckage and victims' belongings were found, but no signs of human bodies or remains were detected. Workers used hand equipment, detection dogs and UAVs to search for the flight recorders and human remains, finding one flight recorder on 23 March. The crash site was concentrated within a 30-metre (100 ft) radius where most of the wreck was found. Rescue workers found a 1.3-metre-long (4 ft 3 in) wreckage fragment, believed to be part of the aircraft, 10 kilometres (6 mi) from the main site.
Wet weather and the challenging accessibility of the crash site hampered the recovery process. Heavy rain partially filled the impact crater with water which had to be pumped away. Recovery activities were suspended on the morning of 23 March because of the threat of landslides.
The CAAC enabled an emergency task force and dispatched a team to the crash site. Liu Ning, secretary of the Chinese Communist Party in Guangxi, visited the crash site and ordered an "all-out" search and rescue operation. He was accompanied by the director of Standing Committee of the People's Congress of the Guangxi and other officials.
American agencies responded as representatives of the country where the aircraft was manufactured. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said it was ready to assist in investigation efforts if requested. Boeing said that it was informed by initial reports and was gathering details. The National Transportation Safety Board said a senior official had been appointed as its representative to the inquiry. Representatives from CFM International, Boeing, and the FAA were assigned as technical advisers in the probe. United States Transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg said on 23 March that Chinese authorities had invited the NTSB to take part in the investigation. COVID-19 quarantine regulations may hamper access of U.S. investigators to mainland China. On 29 March 2022, the NTSB announced that China had granted visas to the agency and the technical advisors from Boeing, engine manufacturer CFM and FAA.
The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) was found on 23 March with exterior damage although the internal storage device was believed to be relatively intact. It was sent to Beijing for data extraction. The emergency locator transmitter (ELT) was retrieved,[when?] and on 27 March the flight data recorder was recovered. It had been buried 1.5 metres (5 ft) deep in the soil. It appeared slightly dented but intact.
Mao Yanfeng, head of aircraft investigation at the CAAC, stated the flight had not encountered dangerous weather conditions. No components of common explosives were detected.
The remains of all 132 aircraft occupants were positively identified by 29 March.
Chinese premier Li Keqiang called for comprehensive efforts to search for survivors and treat the injured, emphasising the need to reassure and serve the families of the victims. Chinese leader Xi Jinping called for investigators to determine the cause as soon as possible and to ensure "absolute" aviation safety. Over 1,000 psychology staff were dispatched to provide aid and emotional support to the families of the victims.
China Eastern established a hotline for family members and announced that its Boeing 737-800 fleet would be grounded for inspection until the investigation was completed.
VariFlight reported that nearly 74 percent of the 11,800 flights scheduled in China on 22 March were cancelled as a result of the crash. A majority of flight services between Beijing and Shanghai were cancelled. Cancellation rates in China were the highest of 2022. Nearly 89 percent of all China Eastern flights were cancelled on 22 March.
News concerning the crash was heavily censored in China. State-run media focused on the emergency crews' response, including detailed lists of their equipment and provisions, and orders from Xi Jinping that officials do everything possible to find survivors. After officials initially failed to answer basic questions about the plane and its pilots, they were accused by online commentators of "rainbow farts," an idiom for excessive praise. Articles and social media posts that asked more detailed questions were deleted by censors. Faced with mounting pressure, officials eventually provided information on the maintenance history of the plane, the pilots' flight experience, and weather conditions at the time of the crash.
A number of world leaders expressed condolences for the loss of life incurred.
In India, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) placed all Boeing 737 aircraft flown by Indian carriers under "enhanced surveillance." SpiceJet, Vistara and Air India Express have the aircraft in their fleets. An official from the regulatory body said that "safety is serious business" and that the situation was being closely monitored.
On U.S. stock markets, Boeing shares initially fell by 7.8 percent and China Eastern shares by 8.2 percent after the incident. On the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, China Eastern shares dropped by 6.5 percent.
Boeing offered its condolences to the families of the victims and said that it was in contact with China Eastern and the NTSB.
There is no connection here with the 737 MAX, a newer version of the 737, which was grounded for more than a year and a half after a design flaw triggered two major accidents.
The plane was a Boeing 737–800 that had flown for nearly seven years. It was not a 737 Max, the model that was grounded worldwide after two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019 that were caused by a faulty flight stabilizing system.
Regarding whether there were any Taiwanese on board, the Taiwan branch of China Eastern Airlines told this newspaper earlier, "It is not convenient for me to answer your question, but I have already forwarded it to the headquarters."
The black box's exterior was severely damaged but its storage unit remained 'relatively intact'
The black box was sent overnight to a professional civil aviation agency in Beijing for decoding. The download and decoding of the recorder data takes time, and may take longer if the internal storage unit is damaged.
China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, quickly issued a statement calling for rescuers to do their utmost and “handle the aftermath in a proper manner.”
Presented content of the Wikipedia article was extracted in 2022-03-31 based on https://en.wikipedia.org/?curid=70358057