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China organizes government probe into deadly plane crash

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • A task force is looking into the deadly plane crash in China
  • Forty-two of the 96 people on board died
  • It was China's first crash in six years

Beijing, China (CNN) -- China's State Council has organized a task force of six central government agencies to investigate the country's first fatal passenger plane crash in almost six years, state media reported Saturday.

A Henan Airlines flight with 96 people on board overshot a runway and crashed Tuesday night in the Yichun area of northern China, state media said. Forty-two people died in the crash. The plane broke into two pieces and burst into flames.

The special task force will look into the causes of the accident, track those responsible and make recommendations to China's government on how to avoid such disasters in the future, said Liang Jiakun, vice director of the State Administration of Work Safety, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

"The plane crash is a lesson for the civil aviation industry, for every pilot and every crew," he said.

The plane was carrying 91 passengers, including five children, and five crew members when it crashed at 9:36 p.m. (9:36 a.m. ET), according to Xinhua, which cited a source with the Civil Aviation Administration of China.

The Henan Airlines flight had taken off from Harbin on the 360-kilometer (225-mile) flight to Lindu Airport, about 9 kilometers (5.6 miles) from downtown Yichun, a city of about 1 million residents near the Russian border, Xinhua said.

China's last fatal passenger airline accident occurred in November 2004, when a China Eastern commuter jet took off in frigid Inner Mongolia without de-icing and crashed shortly afterward into a nearby park, killing 55 people.