NANNING, March 27 (Xinhua) -- A memorial event was held Sunday at the crash site of the China Eastern Airlines plane to mourn the deaths of the 132 people involved in the accident.
At about 2 p.m., as the sound of horns blared throughout a mountainous area in Tengxian County, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, all staff members of the national emergency response headquarters for the accident and rescuers at the site stood solemnly in silence for three minutes in a tribute to the victims.
Assisted by local governments and work groups, the families of the victims also held mourning activities for their loved ones.
The Boeing 737 aircraft, which departed from Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province, and was bound for Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, crashed in Tengxian County on March 21.
All 132 people on board the plane are dead, according to the headquarters.
"It is with great sadness that we here announce that the 123 passengers and nine crew members on board China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5735 on March 21 have all died," Hu Zhenjiang, deputy commander of the headquarters and deputy head of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, said Saturday.
"We are deeply saddened by the accident. We mourn the loss of 132 lives and express our deep sympathy to the bereaved families," Hu said.
"Our hearts are heavy. We have been searching the place where the plane crashed and the surrounding hilly areas for days, hoping for a miracle," Li Shaolin, head of a firefighting team of Guilin City in Guangxi.
Several thousand people have joined the search-and-rescue efforts. Drones and other equipment were also used in the operation.
As of Sunday noon, 357 relatives of the victims had received psychological counseling. The psychological assistance team, consisting of 99 psychological professionals, has also provided counseling to hundreds of rescue workers.
China Eastern Airlines has started the work of settling claims, said Liu Xiaodong, head of the airline's publicity department, at a press conference on Sunday.