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China Plane crash: President Xi Jinping 'shocked', orders probe into cause

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Beijing, Mar 21: Chinese President Xi Jinping said he was "shocked" by Monday's crash of a passenger plane carrying 132 people in the country's southwest and called for an investigation into the accident, state media reported.

China Plane crash: President Xi Jinping shocked, orders probe into cause
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    "We are shocked to learn of the China Eastern MU5735 accident," state broadcaster CCTV reported Xi saying, while he also called for "all efforts" towards the rescue and to find out the "cause of the accident as soon as possible"

    A Chinese passenger plane with 132 people on board crashed in the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Monday, the regional emergency management department said.

    The Boeing 737 aircraft of China Eastern Airlines, which flew from Kunming to Guangzhou, crashed in Tengxian County in the city of Wuzhou, causing a mountain fire, the department was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

    The 132 people included 123 passengers and nine crew members, the Civil Aviation Administration of China said on its website. The number of casualties is not clear yet, the report said. Rescuers have been assembled and are approaching the site. According to news portal The Paper, a staff member at Guangzhou's Baiyun International Airport said that flight MU5735 from Kunming to Guangzhou has not arrived at its destined time, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.

    The domestic flight was scheduled to take off from Kunming at 1.10 pm (local time) and arrive at Guangzhou at 2.52 pm (local time) and is now marked "out of reach" on Baiyun airport's app. Following the accident, videos and pictures purporting to come from the scene started circulating on social media showing smoke billowing from a hillside and wreckage on the ground.

    China Eastern is one of China's three major air carriers. China's airlines had recorded over 100 million continuous hours of safe flight as of February 19, according to Zhu Tao, an official with the Civil Aviation Administration, the Post reported.

    The last domestic fatal incident was in 2010, when a plane crashed in Yichun, Heilongjiang province, killing 42 people.

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