China plane crash flight recorder found after 42 killed

  • Published

The flight recorder from a plane that crashed in China has been found, the state news agency Xinhua said.

At least 42 people were killed after the passenger plane crash-landed in the northern province of Heilongjiang.

Rescuers searched through the wreckage of the plane which had broken in two, as Chinese state television began broadcasting the stories of survivors

These described the panic and terror as the plane tried, but failed, to land safely near the city of Yichun.

"The plane really started to jolt in a scary way - the plane jolted five or six times very strongly," one male survivor told China Central Television from his hospital bed.

A second male survivor told CCTV that he felt a "big jolt" as the plane was coming in to land and heard "big crashes - bam bam bam".


"After we stopped, the people in the back were panicking and rushed to the front," another man told CCTV.

"We were trying to open the (emergency exits) but they wouldn't open. Then the smoke came in ... within two or three minutes or even a minute, we couldn't breathe. I knew something bad was going to happen," he said.

The vice mayor of Yichun, Wang Xuemei, told CCTV that of the 54 injured, three were in critical condition.

The pilot was one of the survivors of the crash but has not been able to talk yet due to heavy facial injuries.

Xinhua reported that families of the victims waited anxiously at Yichun's Lindu airport. Five of those on board were children but their fate remains unclear.

The Henan Airlines aircraft, with 91 passengers on board and five crew, burst into flames after overshooting the runway at Yichun City's airport.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Henan Airlines operates five Embraer ERJ-190 passenger planes

Causes of the crash remain uncertain, but officials at the scene have noted the heavy fog; others have suggested problems with the Brazilian-made Embraer E-190 jet.

A 20-strong team of CAAC officials and technicians have reportedly already left for Yichun City to begin an investigation.

Lindu airport is a small domestic facility that opened only last year.

Henan Airlines is a joint venture between Shenzhen Airlines of China and Mesa Air Group of the US, and is based in Henan province. It was previously known as Kunpeng Airlines.

The BBC's Chris Hogg in Beijing says China has seen a rapid expansion in its domestic airlines in recent years - more than three times as many passengers are flying now as were 10 years ago.

Generally, safety standards have improved, with the last serious accident happening six years ago.

A passenger plane crashed in 2004 into a frozen lake near the northern city of Baotou, killing all 53 people on board. Two people on the ground also died.

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