Search expanded for jet in China's west after experts suggest different crash site

15:29, March 31, 2011      

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Air and ground rescue forces in a western region of China on Thursday expanded the search for a missing aircraft after experts suggested that it might have crashed beyond its scheduled flight path.

Experts said the small jet, with three people on board, may have crashed in Manas County, Hui Autonomous Prefecture of Changji, rather than Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture of Bayingolin, where rescuers have searched without success for it, Changji officials told Xinhua.

Authorities on Thursday said 80 police and para-military personnel, and more than 160 local herdsmen have been mobilized to join the search efforts. Both motorized vehicles and horses are used as rescuers trudge through rugged territories.

The jet plane lost contact after it took off around 4 p.m. Tuesday from Korla Airport, heading north on a survey mission above the mountain range in Mongolian Autonomous Prefecture of Bayingolin.

Manas lies further north in the prefecture. It is not immediately known how the plane could have crashed outside its air route.

The jet, modeled 7026, was made by the Zhong Fei General Aviation Company in China.

Source: Xinhua
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