190 hurt as jet crashes in Hong Kong storm
Monday 23 August 1999
There were 315 people aboard the Boeing MD-11, which belonged to the Taiwan- based China Airlines.
Waiting passengers at the airport witnessed the crash. "I saw the plane, like a fireball coming down," said Toshi Hoshino, a businessman from Osaka, Japan, who was changing planes in Hong Kong. "The right wing hit the ground first. The left side of the body then followed."
"The flight was on fire before it landed," said an American businessman from Portland, Oregon, who saw the disaster from an airport restaurant. "It left a trail of fire, five or six times as long as the plane. They seemed to have problems containing the fire. It was so windy." He said the plane was surrounded by fire engines and ambulances but it took five to 10 minutes to bring the flames under control.
Tropical Storm Sam, which saw winds gusting to 85mph, hindered the rescue of passengers from the burning plane at Chek Lap Kok airport.
Flight 642, arriving from Bangkok, Thailand, was thrown off balance by "an overly hard side wind", according to Scott Shih, a spokesman for China Airlines. He said the plane's captain had radioed the Hong Kong control tower to report that a fire had broken out on board and was given immediate permission to land. Airport authorities closed Chek Lap Kok as well as an express train that runs between downtown Hong Kong and the airport.
Two people - a man and a woman - were killed, a Hong Kong government spokeswoman said. Hong Kong's Yan Chai Hospital said the woman was aged 31. At least 65 people were taken to hospitals, 20 of them seriously injured.
Questions are certain to be asked about why the aircraft was flying in a tropical storm. Officials said 20 incoming and 16 outgoing flights were delayed, diverted or cancelled during the storm. Officials said that in Hong Kong itself the weather caused minor injuries to 100 people from uprooted trees and flying debris.
Many of the passengers are believed to have been Thai citizens. There were also about 80 Portuguese tourists aboard, said a Hong Kong travel agent, Sardy Tong, who had come to the airport to meet them.
Mr Tong said that China Airlines had advised him earlier in the day that the flight would not be coming in, then he got a phone call saying it had taken off. "They shouldn't even have let the plane fly," he said.
It was the worst accident since the $9bn airport opened in July last year. China Airlines have had a number of serious disasters. Last year a China Airlines Airbus crashed killing 196 people. In 1993, a China Airlines Boeing 747 veered off a runway at Hong Kong's old Kai Tak airport and belly-flopped into the sea, injuring 22 people.
interviewThe producer and activist, Trudie Styler, whose film 'Filth' is up for five film awards, is tapping into the industry's neglected female talent
musicBlack Sabbath have pulled off one of rock music’s great comebacks – against all odds
interviewHer estate has become the nation's glossiest food empire
theatreTheatre's hitmaker Daniel Evans on 'Oliver' and bringing 'The Full Monty' to the stage
food + drinkMichelin-starred Tom Sellers on being this year's hottest property
tvParents (and kids) rejoice! A new wave of fantastic family entertainment is here
booksGeese, gorillas, grandads... and growing up
food + drinkHow one grocery e-tailer is gearing up for the Yuletide rush
food + drink
travelFor broadcaster Mishal Husain, a long-haul Club Med holiday was a chance for her family to explore its sense of 'zen' and 'animation'
food + drinkFestive snacks don't have to be fiddly, says Bill Granger
Hundreds arrested as Canadian police smash worldwide paedophile ring
Nelson Mandela: 11 inspirational quotes to live your life by
Ja Rule forced to deny leaving wife for prison cell mate
The 'terrorist' and the Tories: What did Nelson Mandela really think of Margaret Thatcher?
Crash pilot who threatened Ukip leader Nigel Farage found dead
- 1 Hundreds arrested as Canadian police smash worldwide paedophile ring
- 2 Sherlock series 3: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman provide teasers for the biggest comeback in British television
- 3 David Duke: Former Ku Klux Klan leader expelled from Italy
- 4 Why Barcelona chose Everton to educate their latest prodigy
- 5 Japan cracks down on leaks after scandal of Fukushima nuclear power plant
- < Previous
- Next >
£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Server Side De...
£50000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: C# ASP.NET Developer (...
£60000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Senior C# WPF .NET Dev...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: QA Manual Tester FX Trading Platform/Derivative...