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Desperate families are waiting for news after a Chinese Boeing 737-800 smashed into a mountainside, killing all 132 on board, as experts say the pilot 'may have regained consciousness' after G-forces knocked out the crew 'and tried to save the plunging plane'. 

China Eastern has grounded all of its Boeing 737-800 aircraft today after 132 people died when their passenger jet crashed in China this morning after suddenly nose-diving and plummeting 30,000ft in two minutes and hitting the ground at 350mph. 

However, more than 18 hours after communication was lost with the plane, families of the passengers and crew members were left waiting to hear more information about the disaster. 

Local villagers were the first to arrive at the crash site on Monday, where the aircraft sparked a fire large enough to be captured on NASA satellite images.

Hundreds of rescue workers were subsequently dispatched from Guangxi and the neighbouring Guangdong province.

Relatives of crew members have also arrived at a China Eastern office near the Kunming airport where the plane took off, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

The broadcaster says China Eastern has set up nine teams to deal with disposal of the plane, accident investigation, family assistance and other pressing issues.  

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and China Eastern both say they have sent officials to the crash site.   

State media reported all 737-800s in the airline's fleet were ordered grounded following the crash. The model is the predecessor to the controversial 737 Max model but is regarded as safe despite a series of crashes over its long history.

Speaking to The Sun Online, aviation expert Sally Gethin said flight data suggests there was a "10 to 20-second spell where one or more of the pilots regained consciousness and tried to save the plane" before it smashed inthe the ground.

All of those on board "would have been unconscious" for this final plunge, Gethin suggests. 

What do experts think could have caused the horror crash that is feared to have killed all 132 on board?

Experts believe MU5735 likely went down due to a 'loss of control event'.

But they also raised other possibilities that could have downed the jet, including:

  • High altitude stall

The aircraft may have nosedived due to a 'high altitude stall' which cut off the power. Arthur Rowe, specialist fellow in gas turbine performance and operability centre for propulsion engineering at Cranfield University, said this could have lead to the loss of control event.

  • Controls malfunction

Another possible cause was that the controls malfunctioned in the cockpit. Professor Rowe said they may have 'jammed', adding that 'unresponsive control surfaces, especially on the tail', are what could have downed the jet.

  • Sabotage:

There were also fears sabotage could have played a part, but this was deemed unlikely due to it being a domestic flight in China. Professor Rowe said the Covid restrictions on entering the country reduced the chance of this being at play.

  • Not engine related:

The expert did not believe the plane went down due to any engine related issues. Professor Rowe pointed out that aircraft 'can fly perfectly well with no engine power', but admitted it was only for a limited time.

  • Sensory issues such as ice protection failures:

Senor issues could also have caused the plane to have spiralled out of control. Tao Yang, associate professor of engineering at Nottingham University, said 'most of the aeroplane accidents are related to sensors failure - ice protection fails'.

She added: 'Pilots get a huge amount of training, much of it in simulators. But in the real world, they can get overwhelmed or disorientated by sudden events. This is known as the startle effect, and it is every hard to train for that. 

'Even experienced pilots can be caught off guard and that's when they can make poor judgements. Now there are efforts to recognise that and offer additional training.'

Ms Gethin said it is 'too soon to speculate' about what may have caused the crash, but some possibilities could have been a malfunction with the tail, weather, or a myriad of issues which may have affected the aircraft such as a 'small fire on board' or a wiring issue.

She added it is 'unusual' that the co-pilot had 30,000 hours of flight experience while the pilot only had 7,000 hours under their belt. 

A third trainee pilot, who only had a few hundred ours of flying experience, was also on the plane.

Boeing shares sank by more than 4 percent this morning, in the latest catastrophe to hit the firm after the 737 Max crashes caused by faulty flight control software led to the indictment of Boeing's top pilot, a $225 million settlement with investors and a $2.5 billion payout to the families of those killed.  

The China Eastern Airlines flight MU5735 suffered a catastrophic 'loss of control event' and nosedived before smashing into the Chinese hillside, erupting in a huge fireball and causing a forest fire visible in NASA satellite images taken from Space, near the city of Wuzhou in Teng county in the southern province of Guangxi.

A rescue official reportedly said the plane had completely disintegrated while a fire sparked by the crash ripped through bamboo and trees before being put out. China Eastern expressed 'deep condolences' after confirming the fatalities of 123 passengers and nine crew who were onboard, adding that all the victims were Chinese. 

Horrifying CCTV footage emerged on social media supposedly showing the jet racing vertically towards the ground in the moments before the smash. 

FlightRadar tracking data showed the aircraft cruising at 29,100ft at 2.20pm. Around two minutes later it had plummeted to just over 9,000ft and 20 seconds after that it had fallen to just 3,225ft. The data indicates a vertical descent of 31,000ft per minute or around 350 mph.

Altitude data also appears to show aircraft regain height at around 7,5000ft before beginning its final descent.  

President Xi Jinping said that he was 'shocked' by the incident and called for an 'all-out effort' by the rescue operation, as well as for an investigation into the crash and to ensure complete civil aviation safety.

Relatives of crew members arrived at a China Eastern office near the Kunming airport where the plane took off, state broadcaster CCTV reported.

On Monday night, an Associated Press journalist saw police officers and security guards patrolling outside the office with flashlights, ordering journalists to leave.

At a hotel near the airport, about a dozen people, some in jackets identifying them as members of China's aviation agency, huddled around tables and read documents.

The US National Transportation Safety Board today tweeted Monday that it had picked a senior investigator to help with the crash investigation.

The US Federal Aviation Administration, which certified the 737-800 in the 1990s, said it was ready to help in the investigation if asked.

Chicago-based Boeing Co. said it was in contact with the US safety board 'and our technical experts are prepared to assist with the investigation led by the Civil Aviation Administration of China.'

Crash investigations are usually led by officials in the country where the crash occurred, but they typically include the airplane's manufacturer and the investigator or regulator in the manufacturer's home country.

It is not yet clear what forced the sudden dip and crash, but aviation experts told MailOnline it may have been 'a loss of control event, possibly following a high altitude stall of the aircraft' or a sensory failure in the cockpit. 

Relatives of passengers on China Eastern flight MU5375 are seen at the holding area, after the plane failed to arrive at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in China's southern Guangdong province

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Relatives of passengers on China Eastern flight MU5375 are seen at the holding area, after the plane failed to arrive at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in China's southern Guangdong province

Wreckage from the plane found at the crash site in Tengxian County, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region

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Wreckage from the plane found at the crash site in Tengxian County, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region

People sit in an area where relatives of the passengers of the China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane, which crashed in Wuzhou flying from Kunming to Guangzhou, wait for news, at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, China

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People sit in an area where relatives of the passengers of the China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane, which crashed in Wuzhou flying from Kunming to Guangzhou, wait for news, at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, China

Hey Ye, a colleague of one of the passengers on China Eastern flight MU5375, talks to journalists, after the plane failed to arrive at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in China's southern Guangdong province today

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Hey Ye, a colleague of one of the passengers on China Eastern flight MU5375, talks to journalists, after the plane failed to arrive at Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in China's southern Guangdong province today

People sit in an area where relatives of the passengers of the China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane, which crashed in Wuzhou flying from Kunming to Guangzhou, as they wait for news

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People sit in an area where relatives of the passengers of the China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane, which crashed in Wuzhou flying from Kunming to Guangzhou, as they wait for news

A man stands next to an airport staff member outside the area where relatives await news of the passengers of a China Eastern Airlines plane which today crashed

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A man stands next to an airport staff member outside the area where relatives await news of the passengers of a China Eastern Airlines plane which today crashed 

The plane, flight number MU5735 from Kunming to Guangzhou, is believed to be a Boeing 737-89P, which is not part of the MAX series that has been dogged by problems in recent years.

Shares of Boeing fell 5.6 percent to $182.06 in mid-morning trading. Boeing did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The crash will renew calls for China to make its aviation safety record - which is considered good but allegedly sees an underreporting of safety lapses - more transparent.

China's Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said the aircraft lost contact over the city of Wuzhou. 

The CAAC said in a statement: 'The CAAC has activated the emergency mechanism and sent a working group to the scene.'

The Aviation Safety Network said: 'We are following multiple unconfirmed reports about a possible accident involving China Eastern Airlines flight #MU5735 a Boeing 737-89P (B-1791) en route from Kunming to Guangzhou, China.'

President Xi said: 'We are shocked to learn of the China Eastern MU5735 accident.

He also called for 'all efforts' towards the rescue and to find out the 'cause of the accident as soon as possible'.

One villager told a local news site the plane involved in the crash had 'completely fallen apart' and he had seen forest destroyed by the fire caused by the crash.

A local official added: 'The exact location of the accident was Langnan township in Teng county.'

Families of those onboard gathered in China Eastern Airlines' Yunan branch late on Monday and were assisted by staff as they wait for news of their loved ones.

China has more 737-800s than any other country - nearly 1,200 of the planes, and if other Chinese airlines ground the plane, it 'could have a significant impact on domestic travel,' said aviation consultant IBA.

Boeing 737-800s have been flying since 1998, and Boeing has sold more than 5,100 of them. They have been involved in 22 accidents that totaled the planes and killed 612 people, according to data compiled by the Aviation Safety Network, an arm of the Flight Safety Foundation.

A police officer walks around the area where relatives of the passengers of the China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane are seated and await news

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A police officer walks around the area where relatives of the passengers of the China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane are seated and await news

Families of the passengers await news. It is not yet clear what forced the sudden dip and crash, but aviation experts told MailOnline it may have been 'a loss of control event, possibly following a high altitude stall of the aircraft' or a sensory failure in the cockpit

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Families of the passengers await news. It is not yet clear what forced the sudden dip and crash, but aviation experts told MailOnline it may have been 'a loss of control event, possibly following a high altitude stall of the aircraft' or a sensory failure in the cockpit

Passengers' relatives wait for news. One villager told a local news site the plane involved in the crash had 'completely fallen apart' and he had seen forest destroyed by the fire caused by the crash

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Passengers' relatives wait for news. One villager told a local news site the plane involved in the crash had 'completely fallen apart' and he had seen forest destroyed by the fire caused by the crash

Speaking about the 737-800, the foundation's president Hassan Shahidi said: 'There are thousands of them around the world. It's certainly had an excellent safety record.'

Mr Shahidi added he expects investigators to comb through the maintenance history of the plane and its engines, the training and records of the pilots, air traffic control discussions and other topics. 

The flight departed the southwestern city of Kunming at 1.11pm (5.11pm GMT), FlightRadar24 data showed. But tracking ended at 2.22pm (6.22am GMT) at an altitude of 3,225 feet with a speed of 376 knots. The plane had been cruising at an altitude 29,100 feet at 6.20am GMT, according to FlightRadar24 data.

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. It had been due to land in Guangzhou, on the east coast, at 3.05pm (7.05am GMT).  

Video claims to show Boeing 737 nose diving to ground

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Shocking CCTV footage emerged on social media supposedly showing the jet racing vertically towards the ground in the moments before the smash

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Shocking CCTV footage emerged on social media supposedly showing the jet racing vertically towards the ground in the moments before the smash

Footage appears to show smoking wreck of China Eastern Airlines jet

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A rescue official reportedly said the plane had completely disintegrated while a fire sparked by the crash ripped through bamboo and trees before being put out (pictured, the crater where the plane landed)

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A rescue official reportedly said the plane had completely disintegrated while a fire sparked by the crash ripped through bamboo and trees before being put out (pictured, the crater where the plane landed)

A wildfire caused by the high-impact smash into the mountainside is pictured after the plane crash landed earlier on Monday

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A wildfire caused by the high-impact smash into the mountainside is pictured after the plane crash landed earlier on Monday

The China Eastern plane smashed into countryside near Wuzhou city, Guangxi region, and 'caused a mountain fire', state broadcaster CCTV said. Pictured: Footage of the crash posted on social media

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A bystander holds up a piece of the broken wreckage after the horror crash in China on Monday morning

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The China Eastern plane smashed into countryside near Wuzhou city, Guangxi region, and 'caused a mountain fire', state broadcaster CCTV said. Pictured: Footage of the crash posted on social media

Video appears to show remains of crashed China Eastern Airlines jet

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The plane, flight number MU5735 from Kunming to Guangzhou, got into trouble over the city of Wuzhou, before it plummeted 29,100ft into a mountainside on Monday

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The plane, flight number MU5735 from Kunming to Guangzhou, got into trouble over the city of Wuzhou, before it plummeted 29,100ft into a mountainside on Monday

Altitude data also appears to show aircraft regain height at around 7,5000ft before beginning its final descent, although commentators have warned the figures could be anomalies

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Altitude data also appears to show aircraft regain height at around 7,5000ft before beginning its final descent, although commentators have warned the figures could be anomalies

Firefighters rush to site of plane crash in mountains of China

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Rescuers set out to the plane crash site of Tengxian County, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, earlier today

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Rescuers set out to the plane crash site of Tengxian County, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, earlier today

Rescuers conduct search and rescue work around the plane crash site in Tengxian County, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region

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Rescuers conduct search and rescue work around the plane crash site in Tengxian County, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region

Drone footage shows the aftermath of plane crash in rural China

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Boeing 737-800's have had a series of deadly crashes in past:

  • 2006: Gol Transportes Aéreos flight broke up and crashed in Brazil with all 154 on board dying
  • 2007: Kenya Airways flight crashed into a swamp on the way to Nairobi with all 108 passengers and six crew dying
  • 2009: Turkish Airlines flight from Istanbul crashes in a field near the Polderbaan while trying to land at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport with nine people dying
  • 2010: Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed into the Mediterranean Sea after taking off from Beirut, with all 90 passengers and eight crew dying
  • 2010: Air India Express flight overran the runway on landing at Mangalore International Airport, with 158 passengers and six crew dying and just eight survivors
  • 2016: Flydubai flight from Dubai to Rostov-on-Don in Russia crashed on the final approach, with all 62 people dying
  • 2018: Air Niugini flight from Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, with a stop-off at Chuuk International Airport, undershot the runway and landed in a lagoon, with one person dying
  • 2020: Pegasus Airlines flight skidded off the runway at Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport before splitting into three pieces of fuselage, leaving three dead
  • 2020: Air India Express flight overshot the runway while landing in heavy rain and crashed into a gorge at Calicut International Airport, with both pilots and 18 passengers dying
  • 2022: China Eastern Airlines flight crashed while en-route to Guangzhou, China

A huge force of 23 fire trucks and 117 rescuers were said to have been deployed in a bid to search for survivors, though it was later confirmed all 132 people on board had perished. 

The website of China Eastern Airlines was later presented in black and white, which airlines do in response to a crash as a sign of respect for the assumed victims.

Arthur Rowe, specialist fellow in gas turbine performance and operability centre for propulsion engineering at Cranfield University, told MailOnline: 'It looks most likely a loss of control event, possibly following a high altitude stall of the aircraft.

'As usual there are multiple possible causes. Jammed or unresponsive control surfaces, especially on the tail are one.

'An inappropriate combination of autopilot settings is another - I'm not familiar with the details of this aircraft's flight controls though.

'Sabotage, although that's probably unlikely on a domestic Chinese flight given the Covid restrictions on entering the country.

'It's unlikely to be engine related as aircraft can fly perfectly well with no engine power - for a limited time obviously.'

Professor Bharath Ganapathisubramani, from Southampton University's engineering and physical sciences department added: 'Having looked at this and discussed with colleagues, we think that it is far too early to even speculate on possible causes.

'If the Flight Data Recorder and slash or the Cockpit Voice Recorder are found and are in a usable condition, we should know much more in a few months' time, with a final, definitive answer to what caused the tragedy likely to emerge in a year or so - based on the typical timelines of such events.'

Tao Yang, associate professor in engineering at Nottingham University, said: 'The plane was completely out of control and at this stage it is very difficult to say what has happened.

'However, most of the aeroplane accidents are related to sensors failure - ice protection fails.' 

Rescue teams look across Guangxi hillside in search for crash site

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The China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737 plummeted rapidly then appeared to have smashed into the hillside near the city of Wuzhou in Teng county

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The China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737 plummeted rapidly then appeared to have smashed into the hillside near the city of Wuzhou in Teng county

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The China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737 plummeted rapidly then appeared to have smashed into the hillside near the city of Wuzhou in Teng county

A Chinese airliner with 133 people on board has crashed in the southern province of Guangxi, erupting in a horror fire across a mountain

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A Chinese airliner with 133 people on board has crashed in the southern province of Guangxi, erupting in a horror fire across a mountain

The China Eastern plane smashed into countryside near Wuzhou city, Guangxi region and 'caused a mountain fire', state broadcaster CCTV said

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The China Eastern plane smashed into countryside near Wuzhou city, Guangxi region and 'caused a mountain fire', state broadcaster CCTV said

Loved ones of China plane crash victims wait at Guangzhou airport

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Parts of the plane were strewn across the countryside following the crash and fireball on Monday afternoon in China

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Parts of the plane were strewn across the countryside following the crash and fireball on Monday afternoon in China

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Parts of the plane were strewn across the countryside following the crash and fireball on Monday afternoon in China

Rescuers are seen in footage from CCTV piling on to a bus as they start their mission to search for survivors of the plane crash today

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Rescuers are seen in footage from CCTV piling on to a bus as they start their mission to search for survivors of the plane crash today

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The plane (file photo of it is pictured) stopped transmitting data just southwest of the Chinese city of Wuzhou, according to data from Flight Radar. Chicago-based Boeing Co. did not immediately respond to a request for comment

Chinese media reports plane crash in Wuzhou with 133 passengers

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Boeing Max 737's two deadly crashes: What happened?

Boeing was forced to ground the 737 Max after the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia happened less than six months apart.

The first disaster happened October 29, 2018, when a Max flying as Lion Air flight JT 610 fell into the Java Sea 15 minutes after taking off from Jakarta.

All 189 aboard the plane died, including 180 Indonesians, one Italian and one Indian.

The second crash occurred on March 10, 2019, when Ethiopian Airlines Flight ET 302, which also was a Max jet, took off from Bole International Airport in the Ethiopian capital and crashed.

All 157 people onboard the plane died. US carriers American, United and Southwest had to cancel flights for the holidays, including over Christmas and into the new year, after the plane was grounded around the world.

Boeing reported on July 14, 2019, that customers canceled orders for 60 of the grounded 737 MAX jets in June.

The aircraft maker removed another 123 planes from its backlog over doubts that the deals will be completed. 

Aviation data provider OAG said this month state-owned China Eastern Airlines was the world's sixth-largest by scheduled weekly seat capacity and the biggest in China.

It has had a relatively strong performance in the domestic market during the coronavirus pandemic despite tight curbs on international flights, OAG said.

It is one of China's top three airlines, operating scores of domestic and international routes serving 248 destinations.

The aircraft was delivered to China Eastern from Boeing in June 2015 and had been flying for over six years.

The twin-engine, single aisle Boeing 737 is one of the world's most popular planes for short and medium-haul flights.

China Eastern operates multiple versions of the common aircraft, including the 737-800 and the 737 Max. The 737 Max version was grounded worldwide after two fatal crashes.

China's aviation regulator cleared that plane to return to service late last year, making the country the last major market to do so.

The popular 737-800 variant has a maximum seating capacity of 189 and is equipped with CFM-56 engine, according to the planemaker's website.

The engines are made by a joint venture between General Electric Co and France's Safran SA.

The safety record of China's airline industry has been among the best in the world in the past decade.

But it is also less transparent than in countries like the US and Australia where regulators release detailed reports on non-fatal incidents, said Greg Waldron, Asia managing editor at industry publication Flightglobal.

'This makes it hard to get a sense of the true situation with Chinese carriers,' he said. 'There have been concerns that there is some underreporting of safety lapses on the mainland.'

According to Aviation Safety Network, China's last fatal jet accident was in 2010, when 44 of 96 people were killed when an Embraer E-190 regional jet flown by Henan Airlines crashed on approach to Yichun airport in low visibility.

The 737-800 model that crashed today has a good safety record and is the predecessor to the 737 MAX model that has been grounded in China for more than three years following fatal crashes in 2018 in Indonesia and 2019 in Ethiopia.

Boeing was forced to stop the 737 Max after the crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia happened less than six months apart.

The first disaster happened October 29, 2018, when a Max flying as Lion Air flight JT 610 fell into the Java Sea 15 minutes after taking off from Jakarta.

All 189 aboard the plane died, including 180 Indonesians, one Italian and one Indian. The second was on March 10, 2019, when Ethiopian Airlines slight ET 302 took off from the Ethiopian capital and crashed. 

All 157 people onboard the plane died. The plane was grounded around the world and thousands of holidaymakers and travellers missed their flights.

Boeing reported on July 14, 2019, that customers cancelled orders for 60 of the grounded 737 MAX jets in June.  The aircraft maker removed another 123 planes from its backlog over doubts that the deals will be completed.

In 1992, a China Southern 737-300 jet flying from Guangzhou to Guilin crashed on descent, killing all 141 people on board, according to Aviation Safety Network.

Most of the passengers onboard the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which disappeared in March 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, were from China.

Passengers check in at the self-service machines of China Eastern Airlines in Kunming Changshui International Airport in China's southwestern Yunnan province after the earlier plane went down

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Passengers check in at the self-service machines of China Eastern Airlines in Kunming Changshui International Airport in China's southwestern Yunnan province after the earlier plane went down

Passengers sit in front of the self-service machines of China Eastern Airlines in Kunming Changshui International Airport in China's southwestern Yunnan province after the crash

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Passengers sit in front of the self-service machines of China Eastern Airlines in Kunming Changshui International Airport in China's southwestern Yunnan province after the crash

Passengers arrive at Kunming Changshui International Airport in China's southwestern Yunnan province today after the horror jet crash earlier today

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Passengers arrive at Kunming Changshui International Airport in China's southwestern Yunnan province today after the horror jet crash earlier today

A flight information board shows a cancelled China Eastern Airlines flight (top) at the Kunming Changshui International Airport today

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A flight information board shows a cancelled China Eastern Airlines flight (top) at the Kunming Changshui International Airport today

Flight Radar shows the plane taking off but not reaching its destination in the early hours

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Flight Radar shows the plane taking off but not reaching its destination in the early hours

A graphic by the aviation monitoring website shows the plane plummet part-way through its journey

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A graphic by the aviation monitoring website shows the plane plummet part-way through its journey

Flight Radar data shows how the plane plummeted thousands of feet before correcting then again falling before the horror crash

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Flight Radar data shows how the plane plummeted thousands of feet before correcting then again falling before the horror crash

The website released data showing the aircraft's altitude during its descent as well as its speed during the incident on Monday

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The website released data showing the aircraft's altitude during its descent as well as its speed during the incident on Monday

The web site of China Eastern Airlines was later presented in black and white, which airlines do in response to a crash as a sign of respect for the assumed victims

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The web site of China Eastern Airlines was later presented in black and white, which airlines do in response to a crash as a sign of respect for the assumed victims

CCTV said a 'China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737 plane carrying 133 people has crashed in Teng county, Wuzhou, Guangxi, and caused a mountain fire. Pictured: File photo of the area

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CCTV said a 'China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737 plane carrying 133 people has crashed in Teng county, Wuzhou, Guangxi, and caused a mountain fire. Pictured: File photo of the area

BOEING'S 737 MAX: WHAT WENT WRONG

October 29, 2018: A Lion Air 737 MAX plane crashes in Indonesia, killing all 189 people on board

November 13, 2018:- FAA, Boeing say they are evaluating the need for software or design changes to 737 MAX jets following the Lion Air crash

November 30, 2018: Boeing is weighing plans to launch a software upgrade for its 737 MAX in six to eight weeks that would help address a scenario faced by crew of Indonesia's Lion Air, sources told Reuters

March 10, 2019: An Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX crashes, killing all 157 people on board

March 12, 2019: FAA says will mandate that Boeing implement design changes on the 737 MAX by April that have been in the works for months

March 13, 2019: FAA joins other major global regulators in grounding the 737 MAX, citing evidence of similarities between the two fatal crashes

April 6, 2019: Boeing says it will cut monthly 737 MAX production by nearly 20%; U.S. and airline officials say they believe the plane could be grounded for at least two months

May 16, 2019: Boeing says it has completed a software update for its 737 MAX jets and is in the process of submitting a pilot training plan to the FAA

June 27, 2019: Boeing says it will take until at least September to fix a newly identified problem with software that emerged when FAA test pilots were reviewing potential failure scenarios of the flight control computer in a 737 MAX simulator

July 18, 2019: Boeing says it has assumed regulatory approval of the 737 MAX's return to service in the United States and other jurisdictions will begin early in the fourth quarter

October 24, 2019: Boeing says it still expects FAA approval to fly the 737 MAX in the fourth quarter, sending its shares higher despite a slump in quarterly profit. FAA says it will need 'several weeks' for review

November 7, 2019: U.S. and European regulators ask Boeing to revise documentation on its proposed 737 MAX software fix

November 11, 2019: Boeing says it expects the FAA to issue an order approving the plane's return to flight in December, forecasting commercial flights to resume in January

November 15, 2019: The head of the FAA tells his team to 'take whatever time is needed' in their review of the 737 MAX

December 11, 2019: FAA chief Steve Dickson says 737 MAX will not be cleared to fly before the end of 2019

December 12, 2019: Boeing abandons its goal of winning regulatory approval for the 737 MAX to resume flying in December after the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the plane would not be cleared to fly before 2020

December 23, 2019: Boeing fires CEO Dennis Muilenburg

January 6, 2020: An audit conducted in December reveals that wiring in the tail of the 737 MAX could short circuit and lead to a crash if pilots don't know how to respond correctly

January 9, 2020: Boeing releases hundreds of internal messages between employees to the Congress and the FAA last week, raising serious questions about its development of simulators and showing employees may have covered up issues

January 13, 2020: Budget airliner Ryanair reveals it could receive its first deliveries of up to 10 grounded 737 MAX aircraft from Boeing by April, but cautions this will depend on the regulators

January 16, 2020: Committee, appointed by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in April, finds the FAA safety approval process was not at fault

January 21, 2020:  Boeing announces it does not expect federal regulators to approve its changes to the grounded 737 Max until this summer, several months longer than the company was saying just a few weeks ago

November 18, 2020: The FAA rescinds the order that halted commercial operations of the 737 Max

December 29, 2020: American Airlines Flight 718, which left Miami around 10:30am and landed after 1pm in New York, becomes the first commercial flight of the Boeing 737 Max

January 7, 2021:  Boeing agrees to pay more than $2.5 billion in a legal settlement with the Justice Department stemming from the 737 Max debacle. The agreement resolves a criminal charge that Boeing conspired to defraud the Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates the company and evaluates its planes. Boeing will establish a $500 million fund to compensate the families of those who died and pay a fine of nearly $244 million. The company will also pay $1.77 billion in compensation to its airline customers who were unable to use or take deliveries of the Max, which remains grounded in some parts of the world.