Plane carrying 133 passengers crashes in southern China, state media says

A Chinese airliner carrying 133 passengers has crashed in southern China, state media is reporting.

The China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737 plane crashed in a mountainous region of Guangxi province, causing a fire in the woods.

The number of dead or injured is not yet known, CGTN reported, adding that rescue crews have been deployed to the area.

“The precise nature of the incident remains undetermined, and rescue operations are under way,” state media said

Flight MU5735 was scheduled to leave Kunming at 13:15 and was en route to Guangzhou, a major city in the south-east.

The twin-engine, single-aisle Boeing 737 is one of the world’s most popular planes for short and medium-haul flights.

It was not immediately clear which variant of 737 was involved in the accident. China Eastern operates multiple versions of the common aircraft, including the 737-800 and the 737 Max.

The 737 Max version was grounded worldwide after two fatal crashes. China’s aviation regulator cleared that plane to return to service late last year, making the country the last major market to do so.

China Eastern is one of China’s three major air carriers.

The Aviation Safety Network tweeted: “We are following multiple unconfirmed reports about a possible accident involving China Eastern Airlines flight #MU5735 a Boeing 737-89P (B-1791) en route from Kunming to Guanghzou, China.”

China’s last fatal crash of a civilian airliner was in 2010.

Flight tracking website FlightRadar24 listed the flight’s status as “unknown.”

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