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Chinese airliner with 132 people aboard crashes in Guangxi province

A plane carrying 132 crashed in China. (Photo by AFP)

A Chinese passenger plane carrying 132 people has crashed in a mountainous region of southern Guangxi province, with casualties still unknown.

According to China's Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC), a China Eastern Boeing 737 jetliner with 132 passengers on board came down in the hills in Guangxi province on Monday and caught fire.

There were no immediate details about the number of casualties or the cause of the crash. 

The CAAC said it had sent a team of officials, and the Guangxi fire service said work was underway to control a mountainside blaze ignited by the crash.

More than 600 emergency responders have arrived at the crash site, China’s state media reported.

On Chinese social media channels, footage taken by local villagers has gone viral, showing a plume of fire and smoke from the crash, and debris lying on the ground.

Satellite images released by NASA showed a massive blaze in the area where the plane crashed.

The flight that crashed appeared to be Flight No. MU5735 from Kunming to Guangzhou, according to data from flight-tracking website FlightRadar24.

It showed the Boeing 737-89P rapidly lost speed after 0620 GMT before entering a sharp descent.

The plane stopped transmitting data just southwest of the Chinese city of Wuzhou.

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

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 country's last major plane accident took place in August 2010, when a flight from Harbin crashed in north-east Yichun during foggy weather, killing 42 people.

The state-owned carrier is one of China's big three main airlines, along with China Southern and Air China.

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