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China's air crash after 69 months

Last updated on: August 25, 2010 12:25 IST

49 passengers escaped before plane exploded


The bodies of 42 passengers killed in China's plane crash have been recovered from the wreckage of the Chinese passenger plane that overshot the runway at an airport in northwest China's Heilongjiang province.

Forty-nine survivors, who managed to escape the plane before it exploded, were admitted to various hospitals for treatment, the State-run Xinhua news agency quoted officials as saying.

The E-190 jet, manufactured by the Brazilian aerospace conglomerate Embraer, crashed while landing near the runaway of Yichun City's airport at 9.36 pm on Tuesday.

Ninety-one passengers, including five children and five crew members, boarded the plane that was being operated by the State-run Henan Airlines, officials with the Civil Aviation Administration of China said.

The plane, which left the provincial capital Harbin at about 8.51 pm, landed in thick fog and was engulfed in a blaze followed by an explosion after it crashlanded, according to some of the survivors.

Most of the injured were being treated for various external injuries, which were not life-threatening, doctors said.

Reportage: PTI

Image: The wreckage of a crashed passenger plane is seen in Yichun, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province August 25, 2010
Photographs: Reuters

Plane experienced violent jerks before landing

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Some of the survivors of the crash told State television that the plane experienced violent jerks while landing.

The jerks were so severe that the luggage from the overhead compartments started falling down.

Most of the survivors managed to escape through the front exit which was opened before the plane caught fire and exploded.

The captain of the turbine jet was alive and recuperating in a local hospital, Xinhua reported.

But Capt Qi Quanjun, lying on a hospital bed with tubes tucked around his body appeared traumatised and was unable to talk to the media.

It appeared that Qi could understand the questions but he had difficulties in talking due to severe face injuries, doctors said.

Meanwhile, the airport was enveloped with thick fog.

Family members of the passengers were seen waiting anxiously at an open ground as the bodies of those killed were being shifted out of the wreckage.

Image: Rescuers check the wreckage of a crashed passenger plane in Yichun, northeast China's Heilongjiang province August 24, 2010
Photographs: Reuters
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Cause of crash is being probed

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The jet broke into two pieces before it smashed into the ground and exploded at about 9.36 pm on Tuesday, local officials said.

The blaze had been put out but for some time the flames lightened the area in the middle of the night.

The cause of the crash is being investigated.

Some officials said the airport, nestled in a thickly-forested valley, is not able to accommodate landing flights during the night.

The tragedy prompted Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang to lead a team of transportation, health, work safety, and security officials to Yichun overnight.

A staff worker with Embraer's Beijing office said the company did not yet have any comments on the accident.

Lindu Airport is located in a forest some nine km away from downtown Yichun, a city with about one million population.

Henan Airlines launched the Yichun-Harbin service this year and operated flights by ERJ-190 jets three times a week.

Image: Paramilitary policemen carry the wreckage of a crashed passenger plane in Yichun, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province August 25, 2010
Photographs: Reuters
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Air crash in China after 2100 days


The carrier, based in central China province of Henan, was previously known as Kunpeng Airlines and only renamed Henan Airlines last year.

It is being controlled by Shenzhen Airlines.

China, according to officials, kept a good air travel safety record of about 2,100 days -- or 69 months -- without accidents before the Tuesday night crash.

More than five years ago, a CRJ-200 jet, owned by China Eastern Airlines, crashed shortly after take-off into a park in Baotou City, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, killing all 53 people on board and two others on the ground.

The black box of a crashed plane was recovered on Wednesday morning, officials said.

Image: Paramilitary policemen stand next to the wreckage of a crashed passenger plane in Yichun, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province August 25, 2010
Photographs: Reuters
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