Pope Francis offered his “heartfelt condolences” on Tuesday after a Boeing 737 plane carrying 132 passengers crashed in hills in southern China.

The pope sent a condolence telegram to China’s President Xi Jinping on March 22 after China Eastern Airlines Flight MU5735 crashed on Monday in Guangxi province.

China’s Civil Aviation Administration said on Tuesday that rescuers had so far failed to discover any survivors.

The telegram sent on the pope’s behalf by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said: “Upon hearing the sad news of the tragic air accident in the province of Guangxi and the loss of human lives, His Holiness Pope Francis sends his heartfelt condolences to you and your fellow citizens.”

“He prays for those who perished and for the consolation of those who mourn. His Holiness invokes upon each one the Divine Blessing.”

China and the Holy See have not had diplomatic relations since 1951, following the Chinese Communist Revolution. But the two parties signed a provisional agreement on the appointment of bishops in 2018, which was renewed for a further two years in 2020.