Thu, May 09, 2002 - Page 1 News List

Search for survivors of China Northern plane crash halted


All 112 people aboard a Chinese jetliner that crashed into the sea off China's northeast coast are dead, the airline announced yesterday, as rescuers in boats gave up their search for survivors that had lasted through the night.

The China Northern Airlines plane, on a domestic flight from Beijing, crashed late Tuesday just short of its destination in Dalian, a major port city.

"The 103 passengers and nine crew aboard the airliner all perished," said a letter by the airline that expressed condolences to the families of the dead.

Rescuers have recovered 66 bodies, most of them torn apart in the crash, said Shan Chunchang, deputy director of the national State Administration of Work Safety Supervision. He said a dredge is being used to bring up wreckage submerged under 11m of water.

"Our recovery efforts are made even more difficult because most of the corpses and most of the wreckage disintegrated," Shan said at a news conference.

Authorities said they were still looking for the plane's black box flight data and voice recorders.

The McDonnell Douglas MD-82 went down at 9:40pm about 20km from the Dalian airport after the pilot reported a fire, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

The majority of passengers were Chinese, China Northern said. It said eight of those aboard were foreigners -- three Japanese and one each from Singapore, India, France, Hong Kong and South Korea.

A policeman at an oil pier said he saw the plane flying in low circles just before the crash.

"I saw flame and light in the cabin," said the policeman, who wouldn't give his name. He said the force of the impact was like an "earthquake on the sea" and caused waves that shook patrol boats tied up at the pier.

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