On 21 Mar 2022, a 737-800 B-1791 (41474/5453), FF 5 Jun 2015, carrying 123 passengers and 9 crew operated by China Eastern Airlines on flight MU5735 from Kunming to Guanghzou, crashed in Teng County, Wuzhou, Guangxi.
The flight was 3/4 of the way en-route when it made a rapid descent lasting around 2-3 minutes, impacting a mountainous area at 06:22UTC (14:22 Local). There were no radio calls and no survivors.
FR24 data shows that the aircraft had been cruising at 29,100ft at 0620 GMT. 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.
An unconfirmed video shows an aircraft descending almost vertically into the ground. Part of one winglet was found 12 km (8 miles) away from the main crash site.
22 Mar 2022 - The CAAC issued the following staement: China Eastern Airlines flight MU5735 took off from Kunming at 13:16 on March 21, and entered the Guangzhou control area at a cruising altitude of 8900 meters at 14:17. At 14:20, the controller noticed that the aircraft was sharply descending and called the crew several times but without reply. At 14:23 the radar signal of the aircraft disappeared. The aircraft was found crashed in Teng County, Wuzhou City, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. There were 123 passengers (all Chinese, no foreigner) on board, 3 pilots, 5 flight attendants and 1 safety officer. The aircraft had first flown on Jun 22nd 2015 and had since accumulated 18,239 flight hours in 8,986 flight cycles.
LHS pilot: 6,709 hours TT ; RHS pilot: 31,769 hours TT, J/S pilot: 556 hours TT.
Both the CVR and FDR have been recovered.
*** Updated 14 Nov 2021 ***
On 17 May 2022 The Wall Street Journal reported that flight data from one the aircraft’s flight recorders indicated that someone in the cockpit intentionally crashed the plane, citing people familiar with US officials’ preliminary assessment.
On 20 Apr 2022 China's civil aviation regulator (CAAC) gave a briefing on a preliminary investigation report.
The report contains information about the plane's flight history, crew and maintenance personnel, airworthiness maintenance, wreckage distribution and other issues, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said in a statement.
According to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, a preliminary investigation report should be submitted to the International Civil Aviation Organization and the countries participating in the investigation within 30 days of an accident occurring, the statement said.
Such reports usually contain the factual information already obtained and do not include the analysis or conclusions related to the cause of the accident, according to the statement.
The report, which has been completed, shows that the China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft, Flight MU5735, departed from Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province, for Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, on March 21, and entered the Guangzhou control area at 2:17 p.m.
The area control radar warned of a deviation at 2:20:55 p.m., and the aircraft left the cruising altitude of 8,900 meters.
The controller called the crew immediately, but received no reply.
At 2:21:40 p.m., the last aircraft information recorded by the radar was: standard pressure altitude at 3,380 meters, ground speed at 1,010 kph, with the aircraft on a heading of 117 degrees. Subsequently, the radar signal disappeared, the report shows.
The plane finally crashed into an area near Molang Village under Langnan Township of Tengxian County in the city of Wuzhou, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, killing all 123 passengers and nine crew members on board.
The crash site is located in a valley near the Molang Village. A crater with an area of about 45 square meters and a depth of 2.7 meters has been determined as the main impact point, the report shows.
Major pieces of the plane's wreckage, including the vertical stabilizer, left and right engines and wings, and the landing gear, have been recovered.
The plane's two black boxes were severely damaged in the crash, and data retrieval and analysis are still under way.
The report reveals that the flight's crew and maintenance personnel met the relevant standards and the plane's airworthiness certificate was valid.
There were no items on board that had been declared as dangerous goods, nor any forecasts of dangerous weather, it noted.
Before the plane deviated from the cruising altitude, the radio communications between the crew and the air traffic control department did not show any abnormality.
The investigation team will continue with its work, which includes debris inspection and flight-data analysis, to find out the cause of the accident in a scientific and meticulous manner.