China plane crash kills all 112 on board


A flotilla of ships plucked bodies from the sea today after China's second major air disaster in a month as the airline told relatives all 112 passengers and crew on the stricken plane were dead.

China Northern Airlines, in a statement to relatives the day after its flight from Beijing to Dalian plunged into the Yellow Sea, snuffed out the faint hopes of family and friends and confirmed the grim expectations of rescuers.

It brought wails of grief from family members who had been put up by the airline in hotels in the northeastern city of Dalian since news of the yesterday evening crash emerged.

"There's no more hope left. The airline told us all of them went down in the sea," said Dalian resident Mr Wang Jingao, whose wife Ms Liu Meina (47) was aboard the flight, which plunged into the sea minutes after reporting fire in the cabin.

The official Xinhua News Agency said there were three tourists from Japan, and one from South Korea, India, Singapore, France and Hong Kong on board.

Would-be rescuers in the flotilla of boats that spent the day hauling corpses and wreckage from the sea said they had come to the conclusion early on that they would find no one alive.

"We saw the plane exploding and we went down there in a boat and we saw lots of debris and belongings, body parts, but no survivors, we only saw dead bodies," Mr Li Zhirin told state television.

"We could do nothing but move the bodies out. Sixty-six bodies had been retrieved and over 40 vessels were continuing to search for wreckage and the plane's black box," Xinhua quoted Mr Shan Chunchang, vice-director of the State Administration of Production Safety as saying.

Some of the bodies recovered were swung ashore from a rescue ship in nets usually used for landing cargo.

A teddy bear, a post card and a Great Wall tourist cap rested together in one pile on the deck of a trawling vessel. Soaked clothing and shoes were strewn among cracked and charred fragments of the plane's fuselage and windows.

It was China's second major air crash in less than a month. On April 15th, an Air China Boeing 767 ploughed into a South Korean mountain, killing 122 people.