The domestic flight on a Boeing 737-800, which was carrying 132 people, nosedived Monday afternoon in the southern region of Guangxi, China’s aviation authority confirmed.
The cause of the crash remains unknown, and no fatalities have been confirmed.
Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered an investigation and rescue teams to the location of the crash in the rural, mountainous region.
The missing people on board the plane have not yet been found at the site of the crash, state media said Tuesday, noting only plane debris has been found so far. The crash initially caused a mountain fire, which has since been put out, the reports said.
As the aircraft was a U.S.-made plane, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said it has appointed an investigator for the crash. It was not clear whether the investigation would include travel to China.
Chicago-based Boeing said in a statement it is in contact with the U.S. transport safety board, and its technical team is “prepared to assist with the investigation led by the Civil Aviation Administration of China.”
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said it was aware of the crash and will assist in the investigation “if asked.”
China Eastern Airlines said it is sending workers to the crash site and has opened a hotline for family members. The company’s Hong Kong-traded shares briefly dropped more than 7% on Tuesday morning.
Boeing shares fell by nearly 7% overnight in U.S. trading.