Relatives at airport

China Jet Crash Bodies Recovered
 
 
More than 100 bodies have been recovered after a jumbo jet crashed into the sea between Taiwan and Hong Kong.

And rescuers say they are "not optimistic" about finding any survivors.

The China Airlines passenger aircraft with 225 people onboard crashed shortly after taking off from the Taiwanese capital, Taipei, for Hong Kong.

Investigators fear the plane suffered a mid-air explosion as the pilot had not sent an SOS message.

The fire chief of Taiwan's Penghu islands, Huang Kuang-hua, said: "We haven't found any survivors so far. We are not optimistic."

Mechanical failure

The airline said it was unlikely mechanical failure was the cause of the crash.

The Boeing 747-200 was carrying 206 passengers, including three infants, and 19 crew on the ill-fated 90-minute flight.

The jumbo jet took off from Taipei airport at 3.11 pm local time and disappeared off radar screens 19 minutes later.

A B747-200 China Airlines jet

Six military planes and eight vessels were soon deployed in the area.

 

Bodies

Rescue teams recovered bodies in waters off the Taiwanese island of Penghu, also known as the Pescadores.

China Airlines is the national carrier of Taiwan and the Taipei-Hong Kong route is the busiest in Asia with more than 30 flights daily.

A Chinese Airlines official is reported to have apologised to grieving relatives at Taipei airport.

China Airlines president Wei Hsin-hsiung said: "We think a mechanical problem was unlikely. If it had been mechanical problems, the pilot would have enough time to contact the air control tower.

"I can't speculate what caused the crash."

Taiwan Prime Minister Yu Shyi-kun has recalled the Cabinet to form an emergency team to deal with the crisis.

 
Last Updated: 16:54 UK, Saturday May 25, 2002

   

 

 
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