- Chinese officials confirmed none of the 132 people aboard the plane that crashed on March 21 survived.
- China Eastern Airlines Flight 5735 was carrying 123 passengers and nine crew members.
- Authorities have identified 120 of the victims so far using DNA analysis.
None of the 132 people aboard a passenger plane that crashed into a mountain in southern China on March 21 survived, Chinese authorities confirmed Saturday.
The announcement was made during a news conference from the deputy director of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, Hu Zhenjiang. The plane was carrying 123 passengers and nine crew members.
China Eastern Airlines Flight 5735 had been traveling from Kunming to Guangzhou when it suddenly plunged nose-first into a mountainside in Guanxi, according to data from the flight-tracking website FlightRadar24.com.
Data showed that the Boeing 737 began a rapid descent from over 29,000 feet, traveling at 523 miles per hour, at 2: 19 p.m. local time. The flight’s last recorded data point was at 2: 22 p.m., at an altitude of 3,225 feet.
Investigators haven’t yet determined the cause of the crash. The Associated Press, citing Chinese officials, reported that an air traffic controller had attempted to contact the pilots several times when the plane began to plunge out of the sky, but never received a response.
Workers have so far recovered one of the flight’s black boxes, which contains the cockpit voice recorder, and are still digging for the second one, containing a flight data recorder, according to China Daily. The publication reported that it can take months for investigators to analyze and complete reports on the contents of black boxes.
Photos from the site of the crash throughout the week showed hundreds of rescuers and workers wearing white hazmat suits fanning out across the mountainside, using excavators, shovels, and even dogs to dig through the wreckage, searching for debris, victims, and the second black box.
The China Daily reported that authorities have so far identified 120 of the people who were on the plane using DNA analysis. Among the plane’s passengers were a young family traveling on their first-ever flight, en route to Guangzou to seek surgery for their baby daughter.