Boeing 737 passenger jet crashes in China with 132 people on board

A China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 with 132 people on board plunged midflight and crashed in a mountainous area of southern China on Monday.

Flight MU5735 left Kunming at 1:11 p.m. local time (1:11 a.m. ET) and was due to arrive at Guangzhou in the southeast of the country in less than two hour

The plane was cruising at 29,100 feet and began a sharp descent after 2:20 p.m., recovering more than 1,000 feet.

Briefly then resuming the dive before it lost contact. It fell more than 25,000 feet in about two minutes.

“This kind of tragedy is extremely unusual,” Richard Aboulafia, a managing director at AeroDynamic Advisory, said of the plane’s sudden, sharp drop from its cruising altitude.

China’s Civil Aviation Administration said it was sending a team to the crash site in the Guangxi region.

Investigators will work to recover so-called black boxes that contain cockpit voice recordings and flight data.

Chinese state media said the crash had caused a mountain fire. Video circulating on social media showed fire and smoke in the mountains and a section of a plane near a dirt path.

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