Sat, Feb 28, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Survivor of Amsterdam plane crash arrives home, feels lucky to be alive

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

A China Airlines employee presents Chen Shi-yin, right, with a bouquet upon his arrival at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday. Chen survived the crash of a Turkish Airlines plane in Amsterdam on Wednesday.

PHOTO: CHU PEI-HSIUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

The only Taiwanese passenger aboard the Turkish Airlines airplane that crashed in Amsterdam on Wednesday said yesterday that he feels very lucky to be alive.

Chen Shi-yin (陳詩尹), an engineer at a high-tech company in Hsinchu County, arrived at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport yesterday aboard a China Airlines flight, with a scraped forehead, his passport and a plastic bag. His luggage had been aboard the downed plane.

Recalling his narrow escape from death, Chen told reporters that when the crash occurred, his first thought was “So this is what a plane crash is.”

The Boeing 737-800 airplane, with 135 people on board, crashed while trying to land at Schiphol Airport, killing nine people and injuring 84 others.

Chen said his job required him to travel frequently.

He was heading home from a job in Turkey and took the Turkish Airlines plane to Holland to connect with a flight to Taipei.

Chen said the flight became rough several seconds before the crash. The plane suddenly dropped for one or two seconds and he sensed the captain was trying to pull it up.

“I feel very lucky,” Chen said.

“Because I was the only Oriental on the plane, I got all the attention of the Chinese [language] media after being sent to a nearby hospital,” he said.

Asked whether he was worried about flying again, Chen said he would feel safer taking a Taiwanese airline. The first thing he wants to do after returning to Taiwan was to go home to his wife and five-year-old child, Chen said.

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