‘Pakistan shares the grief’: Imran expresses sorrow over China plane crash

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said Islamabad shares grief with Beijing after a China Eastern passenger jet carrying 132 people crashed into a mountain in southern China.

The crash caused a large fire shortly after losing contact with air traffic control and dropping thousands of metres in under three minutes.

The Boeing 737-800 flight from the city of Kunming to the southern hub of Guangzhou “lost airborne contact over Wuzhou” in the Guangxi region on Monday afternoon, according to the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC).

The jet was carrying 123 passengers and nine crew members, according to aviation authorities.

“Deeply saddened by the tragic loss of lives in the passenger plane crash in China,” the prime minister said as the disaster prompted an unusually swift public reaction from Chinese President Xi Jinping, who said he was “shocked” and ordered an immediate investigation into its cause.

“We share the grief of our Chinese brothers and sisters and convey our deepest condolences and sympathies with the bereaved families,” he said.

China Eastern confirmed there had been deaths in the crash, without providing the number of those killed or giving details on whether there were any survivors.

“The company expresses its deep condolences for the passengers and crew members who died in the plane crash,” the airline said in a statement.

The cause of the crash is “still under investigation”, it added.

Hundreds of firefighters were dispatched to the scene in Teng county near the city of Wuzhou, state media reported, as nearby villagers rushed to help the rescue effort.

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