A passenger plane with over 130 people on board crashed on Monday afternoon in a mountainous area in southern China, sending rescue teams rushing to the site in search of survivors.
The Boeing 737 plane, operated by China Eastern Airlines, went down in the Guangxi region, and flames and smoke could be seen rising from a hillside, initial Chinese news reports said, citing local officials.
“Currently a rescue team has assembled and is approaching,” said an online report issued by Chinese state television. “The situation with casualties remains unclear.”
Initial reports said the plane had crashed in Teng County in Guangxi while flying from Kunming, a city in southwest China, to Guangzhou, a city in the country’s far south. The plane was carrying 132 people, including 123 passengers and 9 crew members, said The Paper, a news website in Shanghai.
Footage shared by Chinese internet users showed a densely wooded hillside in flames, while explosions sounded, but the location of the footage was unclear.
The crash could become one of China’s worst air disasters in many years, after a succession of deadly accidents in the 1990s. Over the past two decades, the country has established a relatively safe flying record, thanks to a young fleet of planes and stricter air controls.