A Chinese Boeing 737 passenger plane with 132 people on board has crashed in a mountainous area of southern China, reports Monday indicate.

The China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737 was flying from Kunming to Guangzhou when it came down atop a mountain range near Guangxi province.

Reports indicate the catastrophe came shortly after pilots lost contact with air traffic control and the aircraft dropped thousands of metres in under three minutes.

The Global Times, an official government news outlet, reports the downed plane caused a mountain fire in South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Chinese state media shared those videos of crash footage.

China Eastern’s flight No. 5735 had been traveling at around 30,000 feet when suddenly, just after 0620 GMT, the plane entered a deep dive at its cruising altitude speed of 455 knots (523 mph, 842 kph), according to data from flight-tracking website FlightRadar24.com (see below).

The data suggests the plane crashed within a minute and a half of whatever went wrong.

The number of casualties is not clear yet, the official website of Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said on Monday afternoon.

If confirmed that all are lost, it will be the single largest loss of life in a commercial airliner since a Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) flight was shot down near Tehran in 2020, as Breitbart News reported.

That crash killed 176 people on board, mostly Ukrainian, Iranian, and Canadian citizens.

A flight information board shows a cancelled China Eastern Airlines flight (top) at the Kunming Changshui International Airport in China’s southwestern Yunnan province on March 21, 2022, after a China Eastern aircraft flying from Kunming to the southern hub of Guangzhou crashed in southwestern China.  (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

China Eastern is yet to comment on the crash, or respond to queries, but it has greyed out its logo on its Weibo account and also changed its website to black and white in an apparent sign of mourning, according to the BBC.

The state-owned carrier is one of China’s big three airlines, along with China Southern and Air China.

CAAC said it had dispatched its investigators to the scene.

The Boeing 737-800 plane was seven years old, according to tracker websites. It’s the predecessor model to the Boeing 737 Max line, which were the planes involved in deadly crashes in Indonesia in 2018 and Ethiopia in 2019.

China banned that model after those crashes.

The last major commercial passenger jet loss was last year when a McDonnell Douglas MD-87 aircraft crashed on take-off from Houston Executive Airport, Houston, Texas. All 21 people on board survived.

Last month AB Aviation Flight 1103, a Cessna 208D Grand Caravan operating a flight from Moroni to Mohéli, Comoros, crashed into the ocean while enroute. All 14 occupants aboard were killed.

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