Hours after the crash of a China Eastern Airline that killed all 132 passengers on-board, India decided to put all Boeing 737 aircraft in use in the country under “enhanced surveillance”. The Chinese flight was of the same make.
Chief of DGCA, Arun Kumar, told India Today TV, “Flight safety is a serious business. We are closely studying the situation. In the interim, we are mounting enhanced surveillance on our 737 fleet.” He added that teams were being deployed to monitor flight procedures, air worthiness and operations.
Currently Air India, Air India Express, SpiceJet and Vistara operate Boeing 737 aircraft in their fleets.
On Monday, a China Eastern Airlines flight from Kunming to Guangzhou with 123 passengers and nine crew members crashed in the mountains of Guangxi. The resultant fire was big enough to be seen on NASA satellite images. No survivors were found after a search operation, following China’s worst air disaster in a decade. Chinese President Xi Jinping called for an “all-out” rescue operation and a probe into the crash.
“Wreckage of the plane was found at the scene, but up until now, none of those aboard the plane with whom contact was lost have been found," state broadcaster CCTV said Tuesday morning.
State media reported that all Boeing 737-800s in China Eastern's fleet were ordered to be grounded.
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 damaged the planes beyond repair and killed 612 people, according to data compiled by the Aviation Safety Network, an arm of the Flight Safety Foundation.
The plane was different from the Boeing 737 Max, the planes that were grounded worldwide for nearly two years after deadly crashes in 2018 and 2019. The 737 Max, a later version of Boeing 737-800, was grounded for about 20 months after two crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people. Both belong to the 737 series.
“Our thoughts are with the passengers and crew of China Eastern Airlines Flight MU 5735. We are working with our airline customers and are ready to support them. Boeing is in contact with the US National Transportation Safety Board and our technical experts are prepared to assist with the investigation led by the Civil Aviation Administration of China,” the aircraft manufacturer had said in a statement.
(With inputs from Poulomi Saha, agencies)
Also read: Chinese aircraft crashes with 132 on board, no sign of survivors
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