Chinese state media revealed early on Tuesday morning local time that a search for survivors of a horrifying plane crash has yielded no positive findings as more than 130 people remain missing.
“Wreckage of the plane was found at the scene, but up until now, none of those aboard the plane with whom contact was lost have been found,” state broadcaster CCTV reported.
Video emerged on Monday of a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 taking a sharp vertical plunge into a mountainous region in southern China. Flightradar24 released data from the flight that showed the aircraft was cruising at just over 29,000 feet when it then plunged more than 20,000 feet in under a minute before later slamming into the ground.
“The plane was in the far east of the Guangxi region, where weather reports don’t suggest any possible contributing factors,” The New York Times reported. “Temperatures reached a high of 86 degrees Fahrenheit around 2 p.m., according to the China Meteorological Administration. Winds were moderate at less than 12 miles per hour, and visibility was 10 miles. Rain was forecast for the evening, but no precipitation had been measured at the time of the crash.”
The Times reported that a manager for Wuzhou City Beichen Mining confirmed to the newspaper that their surveillance camera caught an image that appeared to be the plane plunging straight into the ground.
A Boeing 737 has crashed in China with 132 people on board.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) March 21, 2022
“The cause of the plane crash is still under investigation, and the company will actively cooperate with relevant investigations,” China Eastern said in a statement. “The company expresses its deep condolences to the passengers and crew members who died in the plane crash.”
The crash stunned the communist nation as dictator Xi Jinping ordered an immediate investigation into the crash.
“China Eastern Airlines has grounded all its 737-800s,” BBC reported. “More than 600 emergency responders are said to be at the crash site. Firefighters reached the scene first and managed to extinguish a blaze in the hills caused by the crash.”
The BBC noted that the crash appears to be the first major crash involving an airliner in China in approximately 12 years.
A person who witnessed the plane crash told state media that “the plane fell vertically from the sky.”
“Although I was very far away, I could still see that it was a plane,” the witness, who was only identified by his surname, Liu, said. “The plane did not smoke during the fall. The fire started after it fell into the mountain, followed by a lot of smoke. My heart was thumping. I immediately informed friends about the situation, that this area is dangerous and not to come nearby.”
This report has been updated to include additional information.