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10 August, 2022
 
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Chinese Boeing 737 plummeted 8,000 meters in three minutes

A camera is said to have recorded the aircraft falling almost vertically to the ground

Source: Daily Mail

A Boeing 737 carrying 132 people that plummeted 30,000ft to the ground and burst into flames in China suffered a catastrophic 'loss of control event', experts have warned.

The China Eastern Airlines flight nosedived before smashing into the hillside and erupting in a huge fireball near the city of Wuzhou in Teng county in the southern province of Guangxi - with no sign of survivors.

A rescue official reportedly said the plane had completely disintegrated while a fire sparked by the crash ripped through bamboo and trees before being put out.

Horrifying CCTV footage emerged on social media supposedly showing the jet racing vertically towards the ground in the moments before the smash.

The shocking moment when the Boeing 737 with 132 passengers falls to the ground is said to have been recorded in the following video:

As shown by the video recorded by a CCTV camera and circulating on social media, the aircraft loses altitude and falls in a few seconds perpendicular to the ground.

FlightRadar tracking data showed the aircraft cruising at 29,100ft at 2.20 pm. Around two minutes later it had plummeted to just over 9,000ft and 20 seconds after that it had fallen to just 3,225ft. The data indicates a vertical descent of 31,000ft per minute or around 350 mph.

President Xi Jinping said that he was 'shocked' by the incident and immediately ordered an investigation into the cause.

It is not yet clear what forced the sudden dip and crash, but aviation experts told MailOnline it may have been 'a loss of control event, possibly following a high altitude stall of the aircraft' or a sensory failure in the cockpit.

The plane, flight number MU5735 from Kunming to Guangzhou, is believed to be a Boeing 737-89P, which is not part of the MAX series that has been dogged by problems in recent years.

The crash will renew calls for China to make its aviation safety record - which is considered good but allegedly sees an underreporting of safety lapses - more transparent.

China's Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said the aircraft lost contact over the city of Wuzhou.

It had 123 passengers and nine crew on board. State media said earlier there were 133 people on board.

The CAAC said in a statement: 'The CAAC has activated the emergency mechanism and sent a working group to the scene.'

The Aviation Safety Network said: '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 Guangzhou, China.'

President Xi said: 'We are shocked to learn of the China Eastern MU5735 accident.

He also called for 'all efforts' towards the rescue and to find out the 'cause of the accident as soon as possible'.

One villager told a local news site the plane involved in the crash had 'completely fallen apart' and he had seen forest destroyed by the fire caused by the crash.

A local official added: 'The exact location of the accident was Langnan township in Teng county.'

The flight departed the southwestern city of Kunming at 1.11 pm (5.11 pm GMT), FlightRadar24 data showed.

But tracking ended at 2.22 pm (6.22 am GMT) at an altitude of 3,225 feet with a speed of 376 knots.

The plane had been cruising at an altitude of 29,100 feet at 6.20 am GMT, according to FlightRadar24 data.

Just over two minutes and 15 seconds later, the next available data showed it had descended to 9,075 feet. In another 20 seconds, its last tracked altitude was 3,225 feet.

It had been due to land in Guangzhou, on the east coast, at 3.05 pm (7.05 am GMT).

What do experts think could have caused the horror crash that is feared to have killed all 132 onboard?

Experts believe MU5735 likely went down due to a 'loss of control event'.

But they also raised other possibilities that could have downed the jet, including:

High altitude stall
The aircraft may have nosedived due to a 'high altitude stall' which cut off the power. Arthur Rowe, a specialist fellow in gas turbine performance and operability center for propulsion engineering at Cranfield University, said this could have led to the loss of control event.

Controls malfunction
Another possible cause was that the controls malfunctioned in the cockpit. Professor Rowe said they may have 'jammed', adding that 'unresponsive control surfaces, especially on the tail', are what could have downed the jet.

Sabotage:
There were also fears sabotage could have played a part, but this was deemed unlikely due to it being a domestic flight in China. Professor Rowe said the Covid restrictions on entering the country reduced the chance of this being at play.

Not engine-related:
The expert did not believe the plane went down due to engine-related issues. Professor Rowe pointed out that aircraft 'can fly perfectly well with no engine power', but admitted it was only for a limited time.

Sensory issues such as ice protection failures:
Senor issues could also have caused the plane to have spiraled out of control. Tao Yang, associate professor of engineering at Nottingham University, said 'most of the airplane accidents are related to sensors failure - ice protection fails'.

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