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Chinese Airlines Crashed in Kimhae, 39 Persons Rescued

Posted April. 16, 2002 09:07,   


An Air China aircraft carrying 166 passengers and crews en route from Beijing in the morning of April 15 crashed in a hilly region under bad weather conditions as it was preparing to land in Kimhae Airport. More than 100 people are reported to be death in that tragic accident

Immediately after the accident, firefighters and policemen were dispatched to the crash site to rescue survivors, but the rescue operation faced severe difficulties since the crash site is in the mountain, and rains continued to fall.

Summary of the accident: An Air China International Boeing 767 passenger aircraft with flight No. CA 129 crashed near the Kimhae Airport on the slope of Mt. Dotdae, a height of 380 m, which is adjacent to Mt. Sinoe behind Dongwon apartment, Jinae-Dong, Kimhae-Si, South Kyounsang Province at 11:23 A.M. on April 15

A total of 166 people including 11 crews and 155 passengers, among them 135 Koreans, 19 Chinese, and an Uzbekistan were on board at the ill-destined aircraft, but 54 persons among them were rescued as of 4:30 P.M. of the day.

The crashed aircraft departed at 9:37 P.M from Beijing and expected to arrive at Kimhae Airport at 11:35 A.M.

Eyewitnesses said that the aircraft was flying low when the rear part of the passenger plane was on fire and the aircraft exploded when it crashed.

A Korean of Chinese nationality, Kim Moon-Hak (35 years old, a resident in Jilin Province of China), who was onboard the crashed aircraft and now in medical care at Seongmo Hospital in Kimha said, "Immediately after the announcement to fasten the seat belts to prepare for landing, the aircraft suddenly plunged."

The crash site: At the site of Mt. Dotdae, the wreckages including the main frame of the aircraft were scattered around in pieces, and the scene was really gruesome with billowing smokes, and dead bodies and wreckages are mingled each other.

The survivors were mainly tossed out of the airplane, and some who had lost their lives in the aircraft were carried away with stretchers, and were unrecognizable due to severe burning.

A total number of 1,500 firefighters, policemen, and soldiers including several 119 rescue teams of South Kyoungsang Province and Pusan City were dispatched to the crash site for rescue operation, but because of adverse weather conditions with fogs and incessant rains, the rescue operation was difficult to implement.

Estimated cause of the crash: According to the fifth Tactical Wing of the Air Force that controls aircraft flights at Kimhae Airport, the aircraft was allowed to land since the weather condition at that time was below the limits of landing restriction when the Wing received a landing request from the aircraft at around 11:20 A.M.

The Air Force explained that the weather at that time was tolerable for landing with the cloud height of 1,000 feet, visibility of 2.5 miles, which are below the limits of the landing restriction, being the cloud height of 700 feet, and visibility of two miles.

The Air Force estimated that the aircraft was turning toward Mt. Sinoe using the west side of the runway as a landmark so as to take position for landing point since winds were blowing to land from sea.

According to some related persons of the Air Administration of Busan and the Air Force, "The crashed aircraft should have turned its head toward the runway just short of Mt. Sinoe for normal landing, but we estimate the accident is caused by mistaking turning point in view of its crash on Mt.Dotdae adjacent to Mt. Sinoe."

The Busan Air Administration recovered the black box of the crashed airplane at three P.M. of the day and started to find out the precise causes of the accident.

Transfer to hospitals and rescue operation: Rescued passengers numbering 50 have been under medical care in five hospitals including Kimhae Seongmo Hospital and other regional hospitals in Busan. In addition, recovered bodies are also taken to the hospitals. As the accident broke out, South Kyoungsang provincial government established an emergency situation room and a commanding center for accident management in the provincial fire department, and also established an on-site commanding center.

Additionally, 150 firefighting equipments such as helicopters and specialized equipment belonging to the central 119 rescue team, and North Kyoungsang Province, Busan and Seoul firefight department have been hauled to support the rescuer operation.

Busan Metropolitan Administration also established a rescue support center and hurriedly dispatched mobile emergency medical team composed of 15 doctors to the crash site and secured mortuaries of 38 hospitals that can place 160 bodies.

Chinese reaction: Chinese government is apparently embarrassed at the first major crash accident of a passenger aircraft of Air China International Inc. The airlines took an emergency meeting to discuss the measures immediately after the accident and dispatched experts to the crash site.

The airlines spokesperson said, "We will do our best to counter the crisis," and added, "We will inform the accident to all the families of victims."