China plane crash: Disturbing images emerge amid search for 132 people on board

·Associate News Editor
·3-min read

WARNING - DISTRESSING CONTENT: A desperate search for any survivors is ongoing in China's southwest after a plane crashed into a mountainside with 132 people on board.

The Boeing 737 China Eastern Airlines flight was en route to Guangzhou from Kunming when it crashed near Wuzhou in Guangxi province shortly after 2.30pm.

Fire initially broke out when the plane crashed into the hillside. Source: Xinhua/ China News
Fire initially broke out when the plane crashed into the hillside. Source: Xinhua/ China News

The crash triggered a mountain fire, which has since been extinguished. Disturbing images and video show the fire, with a plume of smoke rising from the crash site.

Hundreds of firefighters and rescue workers from Guangxi and neighbouring Guangdong province rushed to the site to search for any signs of life and worked through the night.

Images of exhausted crews lying on the ground have since gone viral on social media.

Alarming video shared by Chinese state media and on social media site Weibo shows debris strewn across a vast open area, while parts of what appears to be the plane's exterior are also pictured.

Debris from the plane was later discovered. Source: Xinhua/ Weibo
Debris from the plane was later discovered. Source: Xinhua/ Weibo

Among state media video, a camera pans to a person's wallet on the ground.

Plane 'nosedived', witness says

One villager told Xinhua the plane had levelled an area of trees, with baggage from the aircraft scattered on the ground. They said there was also clothing strewn across the area.

At this stage, there are no signs of survivors or victims, state media reports. The number of casualties is unknown.

Guangxi province is renowned for its natural beauty thanks in part to its hilly landscape, a trait which will undoubtedly complicate the mission.

Hundreds of rescue workers are scouring the landscape to find any signs of survivors. Source: Weibo/ China News
Hundreds of rescue workers are scouring the landscape to find any signs of survivors. Pictured right is a person's wallet discovered in the search. Source: Weibo/ China News

Rain is also forecast in the area, set to hamper efforts further.

A nearby farmer described seeing the plane plummet from the sky.

"The plane looked to be in one piece when it nosedived. Within seconds, it crashed," he told Xinhua.

Unverified CCTV video shared to social media shows what appears to be the plane plummeting almost vertically towards the hill.

Unverified CCTV shows what appears to be the plane plummeting almost vertically towards the hillside. Source: Weibo
Unverified CCTV shows what appears to be the plane plummeting almost vertically towards the hillside. Source: Weibo
Part of a wing lies in a levelled area of the hillside. Source: Xinhua
Part of a wing lies in a levelled area of the hillside. Source: Xinhua

Xi Jinping 'shocked' over crash

The plane experienced a sudden decline in altitude, with China Eastern announcing the crash was under investigation. The plane fell 7,000m in less than three minutes, according to reports.

China President Xi Jinping is "shocked" to learn of the crash, state media reported. He has ordered an "all-out search" and a "proper settlement of the aftermath".

The plane's black box has yet to be found, and will be key to determining what exactly happened.

China Eastern has since grounded its fleet of Boeing 737-800 planes.

It is feared the crash will be the deadliest in China since 141 people died when a plane crashed while landing in Guilin, also in Guangxi.

Firefighters resting after an intense search has been shared online. Source: China News
Firefighters resting after an intense search has been shared online. Source: China News

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