India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Monday placed Boeing 737 fleets on “enhanced surveillance”, a day after a Chinese aircraft of the same make crashed with 132 people on board, PTI reported.
The Boeing 737 plane, operated by China Eastern Airlines, crashed in the rural locality near Wuzhou city of the Guangxi region. There was no sign of any survivors from the crash, Reuters reported, citing local media.
DGCA chief Arun Kumar remarked that the safety of flights was a serious business and that the authority was closely examining the situation. “In the interim, we are focusing on enhanced surveillance of our 737 fleet,” he said.
This is the second time in recent years that authorities have expressed apprehensions about Boeing 737 fleets.
In October 2018, 189 were killed as Lion Air’s flight ET302 crashed off the coast of Indonesia. In March 2019, 157 people died when Ethiopian Airlines flight JT610 crashed minutes after takeoff. Both crashes involved the Boeing 737 MAX model. However, the plane that crashed on Monday is not the same model and had a better safety record.
Following the March 2019 crash, the DGCA had banned Boeing 737 aircraft in the country. The ban was lifted last August.
The United States had also banned the aircraft from the country, but lifted the ban after 20 months.
The aircraft that crashed on Monday, however, was an earlier model to the 737 MAX,
Flight lost altitude rapidly
The flight that crashed had lost nearly 26,000 feet in altitude in less than three minutes, NDTV reported, citing data from online flight tracker FlightRadar24.
At 6.20 GMT, the plane was reportedly cruising at 29,100 feet and only two minutes and 15 seconds later, it had plummeted to 9,075 feet.
Meanwhile, China Eastern Airlines said on Monday that it deeply mourned the deaths of passengers and crew members, Reuters reported. It did not, however, state how many persons were killed.
Boeing said that it was prepared to assist the Chinese airline, and was also in contact with transport safety regulators in the United States about the crash. Boeing is a United States-based airline.