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Chinese Plane Lost 26,000 Feet In Less Than 3 Minutes Before Crashing, Data Shows


Crash video shows the plane bowing just before the crash.

New Delhi:

A China Eastern Airlines plane with 132 people on board that crashed in the mountains of southern China on Monday reported a sudden loss of cruising altitude – nearly 26,000 feet in under 3 minutes, according to online flight tracker FlightRadar24.

The Boeing 737-800 left Kunming China at 1:11 p.m., FlightRadar24 data showed, and was supposed to land in Guangzhou at 3:05 p.m. The website did not show data for flights after 2:22 p.m.

The aircraft, which Flightradar24 said was six years old, had sailed at an altitude of 29,100 feet at 0620 GMT. Just over two minutes and 15 seconds later, data showed it had dropped to 9,075 feet.

In another 20 seconds, the height of his last trail was 3,225 feet.

Accidents during the navigation phase of a flight are relatively rare although they account for the bulk of flight time.

The media said there were no signs of survivors and the airline said it was deeply saddened by the passengers and crew who had died.

China Eastern said the cause of the crash, in which the plane descended at a final rate of 31,000 feet per minute according to FlightRadar24, was under investigation.

The state CCTV broadcaster said the crash “caused a mountain fire” which was later extinguished.

Hundreds of firefighters were dispatched to the scene in Teng county near the city of Wuzhou, state media reported, as nearby villagers rushed to help rescue efforts.

The disaster sparked an unusually quick public reaction from President Xi Jinping, who said he was “shocked” and ordered an immediate investigation into the cause.

China Eastern stopped its fleet of 737-800 aircraft after the crash, state media reported. China Eastern has 109 aircraft in its fleet, according to FlightRadar24.

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