China Eastern Commuter Jet Crashes    - De-Icing Suspected
China Plane Crashes Into Frozen Lake, Kills 53
Sun Nov 21, 2004 02:44 AM ET
Printer Friendly | Email Article | Reprints | RSS   
Top News
Spy Agency Reform Appears Dead
Rebels Attack Baghdad Police, Troops
China Plane Crashes Into Frozen Lake, Kills 53

BEIJING (Reuters) - A China Eastern commuter plane crashed into a frozen lake seconds after takeoff in Inner Mongolia Sunday, killing all 53 passengers and crew, state media said.

The Bombardier CRJ200, operated by two pilots, had taken off from Baotou, nearly 360 miles west of Beijing, en route to eastern Shanghai, Xinhua news agency and China Eastern Airlines Corp. Ltd. said.

The weather was clear, with the temperature around 43 to 45 Fahrenheit, when the plane, operated by a unit of China Eastern, the Yunnan Branch Co., crashed into the lake in the giant Nanhai Park at 8:20 a.m., an airport official said.

"Witnesses said that the plane broke into flaming fragments, a house beside the park was damaged by the falling aircraft and several yachts nearby were scorched," Xinhua said.

The news Web site said the plane crashed through a park ticket office and one park worker was missing.

The fire had been put out at the lake and about 100 firefighters and police were searching among lumps of ice for bodies.

State television showed pictures of rescuers pulling debris from below the broken ice. The remains of 36 victims had been found, Xinhua said.

The park, a mile from the runway, had been cordoned off by police.

"High-standard hospitals in Baotou have made arrangements for receiving the remains of victims. And doctors and nurses are providing medical and related services for families of the dead," Xinhua said.

Airport officials had been called to an emergency meeting, staff at the airport said. An official said there had been one foreigner on board, but his nationality was not immediately known.

Baotou, an industrial city of about 1 million people, is the largest city in Inner Mongolia.

China's last major crash was on May 7, 2002, when a China Northern flight from Beijing to Dalian fell into the sea after the pilot reported a fire in the cabin, killing 112 people.

The 68-ft Canadian Bombardier CRJ200 was the world's first 50-seat commuter jet.

Date: 21 NOV 2004
Time: 08:20
Type: Canadair CRJ200LR RegionalJet
Operator: China Yunnan Airlines
Registration: B-3072 ?
Msn / C/n: 7697
Year built: 2002
Engines: 2 General Electric CF34-3B1
Crew: 6 fatalities / 6 on board
Passengers: 47 fatalities / 47 on board
Total: 53 fatalities / 53 on board
Airplane damage: Written off
Location: near Baotou Airport (BAV) (China)
Phase: Initial climb
Nature: Domestic Scheduled Passenger
Departure airport: Baotou Airport (BAV)
Destination airport: Shanghai-Hongqiao Airport (SHA)
Flightnumber: 5210
Crashed into a frozen lake in Nanhai Park just two kilometers past the runway. Reportedly the aircraft struck a park ticket office before it crashed into the water. State television said two people on the ground had been killed.

* Last hull-loss accident: 14 OCT 2004 Pinnacle Airlines/Northwest Airlink, Jefferson City (USA) - 2 fatalities
* Total number of hull-losses: 5 losses (5 accidents)
* Worst CRJ accident
* Survival rate for all fatal CRJ accidents: on average 28% of all occupants survived fatal accidents

Regional airline operating some Boeing 737 and Canadair RegionalJet planes. The airline is in a process of merger with China Eastern Airlines.
founded: 1992
* 1st airliner hull-loss accident
2004 SO FAR
* Number of fatal hull-loss airliner accidents : 24 (safety rank since 1950: 2nd safest)
* Number of fatalities: 397 (safety rank since 1950: safest)
(Coverage: fatal, multi engine civil airliner accidents)

Sounds like they never de-iced effectively (the CRJ-200 has a clean leading-edge - with no high-lift augmentation devices such as Krueger Flaps/slats). Thus it is like the Challenger CL-600, very prone to take-off stalling (like the CL600 at Birmingham).

Icing and wings always leads one back to the same circular argument about the stall characteristics changing significantly (except in the case of turbo-props where they also change due to non-symmetricall icing [think props rotating in same direction and resultant spanwise distribution of icing - dissimilarly-iced L/R wing stalling speeds]).

Also see (ref same classes of regional jets and stalling characteristics):

two (also possibly relevant to the Jefferson City CRJ200 crash

three  (also relevant is RJ100 stall characteristics for Fredericton crash of RJ100ER on 16 Dec 97)

Extract (Fredericton):  
  • Ice accretion studies indicate that the aircraft was in an icing environment for at least 60 seconds prior to the stall, and that during this period a thin layer of mixed ice with some degree of roughness probably accumulated on the leading edges of the wings. Any ice on the wings would have reduced the safety margins of the stall protection system.
  • four (26 Jul 93) also a stall accident

     to HotOff the Press