Officials correct China plane crash death toll to 42
A local publicity official...
The government of Yichun, a city in northeast China`s Heilongjiang Province, has corrected Tuesday night`s plane crash death toll to 42, saying one dead body that was torn apart in the disaster was formerly counted as two, according to Xinhua.
A local publicity official said earlier on that 43 dead bodies were retrieved.
According to the death roll released by the city government, the dead were aged roughly from 12 to 55, calculated from their birth dates indicated in their ID numbers. Among them, however, was a Chinese holding a passport and three crew members whose ID numbers were not available.
Rescuers wrapped up the bodies early on Wednesday and have transported them to the city`s funeral homes for families to identify them.
The ERJ-190 jet, manufactured by the Brazilian aerospace conglomerate Embraer with maximum passenger capacity of 108, crashed near the runaway of Lindu airport of Yichun at 9:36 p.m. Tuesday, some 40 minutes after it took off from the provincial capital Harbin.
Ninety-one passengers, including five children, and five crew members boarded the plane, sources with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said.
Officials in Yichun confirmed a group of officials from Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security were also on board, including a vice minister and six division chiefs. Most of them survived with injuries, and the vice minister Sun Baoshu was in critical condition.
The jet broke into two pieces before it smashed into the ground and exploded. Most of the casualties were found in the back of the cabin.
The cause of the crash is being investigated.
Survivor Xue Xilai remembered the plane hit the ground before it was torn apart.
"I looked out and couldn`t see anything -- it was pitch dark and no light," said Xue, who was being treated at Yichun City Hospital. "I felt something was seriously wrong."
Xue was sitting next to the window in row 10.
He became unconscious after the accident and woke up in his hospital bed at midnight.
He suffers a broken lumbar.
Embraer offered its condolences to the victims` families and said it had sent a team of technicians to help with the investigation.
Phone calls to Embraer`s Beijing office went unanswered early Wednesday.
Brazil has replaced Russia to become China`s 10th largest trade partner this year, with bilateral trade surging 54.6 percent to 32.51 billion U.S. dollars from January to July.
Lindu Airport is located in a forest some 9 kilometers away from downtown Yichun, a city with about 1 million population. It opened on Aug. 27 last year.
Henan Airlines launched the Yichun-Harbin service this year and operated flights by ERJ-190 jets three times a week.
The carrier, based in a central China province with the same name, was previously known as Kunpeng Airlines and was only renamed Henan Airlines last year. It is run by the Shenzhen-based Shenzhen Airlines.
China had kept a remarkable air travel safety record of about 2,100 days -- or 69 months -- without accidents before Tuesday`s tragedy, statistics from the CAAC show.
In November 2004, a CRJ-200 jet 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 jet was owned by China Eastern Airlines, one of China`s top three carriers.