China Eastern Plane Crashes


Fabrizio Gandolfo

Same model of the China Eastern Aircraft that went down in the crash.

Kerry Breen, Contributing Writer

On Monday, March 21, 2022, around 2:21 pm, the Boeing 737-800 carrying 132 people tragically crashed as it arrived over the Wuzhou city of Guanxi. Taking off from Kunming at 1:16 pm, the plane flew normally until the China Eastern Airline station detected an immediate altitude descent, ultimately cutting off all communication with the aircraft. 

Chinese air disaster investigators announced at a press briefing on Tuesday that contacts with the crew were interrupted in the final seconds before the plane went down.

According to a representative for China Airlines, Sun Shiying clarified that the aircraft had passed pre-flight checks and the nine crew members were qualified and healthy.

All aboard the Boeing 737 operated by China Eastern Airlines, nine aircrew and 123 passengers are presumed dead three days after the crash, with no signs of survivors. It is China’s biggest aviation tragedy in over three decades.

After extensive search parties investigated the location of the plane’s acquired “black boxes”— which are cockpit voice recorders, that could potentially provide vital information regarding the causes of the crash, search crews uncovered the first black box from the cockpit, and the flight-data recorder box.

Following the disaster, state media photos and videos show massive plumes of smoke rising above the mountains. Search and rescue teams make their way through the dense undergrowth, which is littered with debris and plane components. Wallets, ID cards, and phone parts were among the personal items strewn about, according to China Youth Daily.

According to a rescue squad captain quoted by Xinhua News Agency, the rescue area has been increased by five times. According to the article, the search had indeed covered 46,000 square meters as of Wednesday evening. Hundreds of people, as well as dogs and drones, are participating in the hunt.

Amid the fiery explosion, eye witnesses describe the scene with clothing strung-trees, and woods aflame throughout. A handwritten note outlining the significance of traditional jade jewelry was photographed and widely circulated online after it was recovered from the crash scene, the note read, “a complete life, a smooth career, family happiness, inner peace … which outlines people’s expectations of life,” and inspired messages across Chinese social media mourning the loss of this horrific accident.

As officials initiated an examination after the crash, families of the victims assembled in the Guangzhou airport on Monday evening, waiting for any information of their loved ones. 

According to David Soucie, a former safety inspector with the US Federal Aviation Administration, “due to the apparent speed of the crash, there is little possibility anyone on board survived or that there will be any clear remains left to identify.”

According to Xinhua News Agency, it has been pouring nonstop at the crash scene since Wednesday evening, making walking impossible. According to the state-run news agency, rescue teams have removed landslide debris and placed bamboo frames on the ground to enhance their operations. Unfortunately, weather conditions are predicted to worsen.

In response to this tragic occurrence, investigations will persist led by the CAAC, in order to uncover as much data and information they can unpack from the ruins. Additionally, The Ministry of Emergency Management has urged airline industries as well as mining, and chemical companies to strengthen their safety protocols and measures to prevent crashes following Monday’s tragedy. 

The government will assess if rising commodity costs and a steep drop in travel income are having an influence on safety, according to a statement from the ministry.

After becoming aware of the recent fatality, students from the Hingham High School express their condolences and sympathy for those in the crash, as well their loved ones, and anyone else affected by the incident. Junior Brendan Prestia, shares, “My thoughts and prayers go out to the communities in China who are experiencing the immense pain and grief tied to this horrible situation. I hope the investigators are able to find as much information as possible to ensure something as tragic as this does not reoccur.”

Furthermore, another student from the HHS community, Kyla Odell, expresses deep condolences for the tragedy: “What happened was truly a horrible accident and it’s really scary to think something like that can occur so abruptly. My sentiments go out to all the families in China suffering from this great loss.”

Listen here: for audio recordings of an attempt to contact the Boeing 737.  A response was not received.