The aircraft took off at 08.20/8.20am local time (00.20/12.20am UTC/19.20/7.20pm ET). In less than a minute, it was out of control and crashed into a lake inside Nanhai Park, two kilometres from the airport. Eye witnesses reported seeing smoke near the plane shortly after take off, followed by shaking of the plane and then its eventual crash. The CVR recording contains the captain calling "What's wrong?" and passengers crying at the time of the crash.
The aircraft departed 15 minutes ahead of schedule.