Jet crash in NE China to be fully examined

08:19, August 30, 2010      

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China's State Council has set up a special task force to investigate last Tuesday's deadly Henan Airlines jet crash that killed 42 people and injured 54 in Yichun city of the northeastern Heilongjiang province.

The investigation team consists of officials from six central government agencies, including the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS), the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and the Ministry of Public Security, as well as the provincial government of Heilongjiang.

The team will work to pinpoint the cause of the accident, establish responsibility for it and advise the central government on how to revamp the industry to avoid similar disasters in the future, deputy head of SAWS and crash investigation team leader Liang Jiakun said at an internal meeting in Yichun on Saturday.

Li Jian, CAAC deputy head, said a thorough investigation would be conducted.

"The probe involves every aspect of the jet - its manufacturer, operator, pilot, crew, maintenance record, as well as the air traffic management and airport authorities," Li said.

Nearly six days after the crash, survivors continued to receive treatment at several hospitals in Yichun, Harbin and Beijing.

By Saturday, 45 of the 54 survivors had been transferred to larger hospitals, where they were expected to receive better treatment.

Ten of them arrived in Beijing on Friday night and were taken to Jishuitan Hospital and the No 3 Hospital affiliated with Peking University.

Thirty-five are being treated in Harbin, the provincial capital.

Doctors in Harbin said 17 of the victims are still in grave danger, with serious burns or head and chest wounds. Among them are five children.

Nine people with slight injuries remained in Yichun for treatment, a spokesman with the Yichun city government said on Saturday.

At least 40 bodies of the dead have been identified as of Saturday morning, thanks to DNA tests, the official said.

In a related incident, Yichun police apologized on Saturday for mistakenly detaining four journalists, who were reporting from a local funeral parlor where crash victims' bodies were kept.

Wang Shuntian, a journalist from the Chinese Business Morning View in neighboring Liaoning province, was held by several policemen at 10:30 am when he was looking for sources, the Beijing News reported on Sunday.

At the same time, the police cordoned off the funeral parlor and caught another journalist from the Legal Evening News based in Beijing, according to the report.

The two journalists were brought to a nearby police station and kept in a small room, the report said. Another two journalists who were reporting from within the funeral parlor were also caught by police and detained in an office building at the funeral parlor.

After learning that four colleagues had been detained, a dozen journalists from other media organizations who were covering the crash in Yichun then reported the case to the municipal police bureau, the newspaper said.

Two hours after they were detained, the four journalists were freed.

Hua Jingwei, head of the local publicity bureau, said the incident was a misunderstanding, the Beijing News reported.

A senior police official in Yichun, surnamed Cui, apologized to the four journalists, the paper said.

Concern that the crashed ERJ-190 Henan Airlines jet may have tarnished the province's image led the Henan administration for industry and commerce to announce late on Friday that it had revoked the airline's right to use its name.

Henan Airlines, a small regional carrier, was until last year known as Kunpeng Airlines - a name it will once again take. It was renamed Henan Airlines after moving its corporate headquarters to Henan's capital, Zhengzhou.

The Henan government had never invested in the airline, the administration said.

The carrier was founded by Shenzhen Airlines and two overseas companies in 2007.

Source: China Daily/Xinhua


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