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Airport reopens after plane crash killing 42, probe continues

08-26-2010 16:09 BJT Special Report:Passenger plane crashes in Yichun, NE China |

YICHUN, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- The airport in Yichun, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, reopened Thursday afternoon with the first landing nearly 40 hours after it was shut down by the deadliest commercial plane crash in China in nearly six years.

A plane is going to land at the airport in Yichun, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, Aug. 26, 2010. The airport in Yichun reopened Thursday with the first landing 40 hours after a plane crash killed 42 people Tuesday night.(Xinhua/Li Yong)
A plane is going to land at the airport in Yichun, northeast China's Heilongjiang 
Province, Aug. 26, 2010. The airport in Yichun reopened Thursday with the first 
landing 40 hours after a plane crash killed 42 people Tuesday night.
(Xinhua/Li Yong)

An Airbus 320 landed at Lindu Airport in Yichun at around 12:45 p.m.

The flight, run by China Southern Airlines, one of the country's leading carriers, came from China's capital Beijing at 9 a.m. and stopped over in Harbin before it left for Yichun at 12:01 p.m.

The exact number of passengers on board was not immediately known, though a clerk at the information service at Harbin's Taiping Airport estimated there were "more than 60 people".

"Some are family members of the victims," she told Xinhua in a telephone interview but did not give her name.

It was believed that family members of Chen Chung-hua, a Taiwanese injured in the accident, also boarded the plane. But this has not been confirmed by officials.

Chen's wife, a mainland resident, and mother-in-law left Shanghai Wednesday for Yichun, according to the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS).

Chen suffered burns in the back and limbs and is being treated at Yichun Rehabilitation Hospital.

"I'm fine. Please don't worry," he told Xinhua Thursday in an interview.

Dr. Huang Yaobin said Chen would need two to three weeks to fully recover.

Before the landing, 329 family members had arrived at Yichun, according to sources with the city government.

While many relatives from Heilongjiang Province rushed to Yichun, a city about 350 km from Harbin, Tuesday night and Wednesday, the China Southern flight was the fastest route for those from other parts of the country to arrive at the remote border port.

The return flight is scheduled to take off from Yichun at around 1:30 p.m., stop over in Harbin again and head for its destination Beijing.

The number of passengers waiting to board the return flight is not known, as reporters are not allowed to enter the area.

Neither airport authorities nor the carrier revealed how many would board the plane. An insurance agency at the airport also refused to say how many passengers had bought insurance.

China Southern was the only carrier to fly the Harbin-Yichun route before Henan Airlines, a small company named after the central province of Henan, launched the route about two weeks ago.

A Brazil-made ERJ-190 turbine jet of Henan Airlines crashed upon landing at the forests-surrounded Lindu Airport of Yichun City Tuesday night. Forty-two people died and 54 survived with injuries.

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