All 132 passengers and crew on board an China Eastern Airlines flight were feared dead on Monday after the plane crashed into a mountain in southern China.
There had been no official confirmation of any casualties seven hours after the crash, raising concerns that there was little chance of finding survivors.
Rescue work swung into operation after the Boeing 737-800 went down near Wuzhou in Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, state broadcaster CCTV reported, adding that more than 600 firefighters were being sent to the scene to help local emergency services.
Flight MU5735, which was carrying 123 passengers and nine crew members, disappeared en route to Guangzhou after taking off from Kunming in Yunnan province at 1.10pm. After failing to arrive as scheduled at 2.52pm it was marked “out of reach” on Guangzhou airport’s app.
According to VariFlight, a Chinese civil aviation data provider, the plane had been flying at almost 8,900 metres (29,200 feet) before slowing down and losing height at 2.19pm. Three minutes later, when its height was recorded at around 1,300 metres, it disappeared from the radar.