62 feared dead in Korean air crash

SEOUL - A domestic airliner carrying 106 passengers and crew crashed in driving wind and rain on the southern tip of South Korea yesterday but 44 people survived, an airline spokesman said.

Forty-five people initially survived the crash but an infant died before reaching hospital. A flight attendent sitting in the rear escaped unharmed.

Kim Hyun Shik, 20, was trapped in the wreckage of the Asiana Airlines Boeing 737-500 but managed to climb out and ran 2km (1.2 miles) to a police station to raise the alarm.

News reports said more survivors could be trapped inside the fuselage but rescuers were hampered by darkness.

An injured survivor, Moon Hyong Kun, told reporters the plane, which took off from Seoul, earlier circled two or three times over the airport of Mokpo as it tried to land. It crashed some 50 km (30 miles) to the south, an airline spokesman said.

'I was sitting in the back row. Most of the passengers in the back row escaped alive,' Mr Moon said. 'The plane descended and then flew between two hills. I fastened my belt and there was a big bang. That's all,' he whispered. 'The plane looked like crumpled paper.'

The Korea Broadcasting System said many of the dead had been flung out of the plane. It appeared they were not wearing seatbelts. State television said the plane crashed into a cliff and broke in two.

An Asiana spokesman said the twin-engined aircraft, built in 1990 and obtained secondhand last year, crashed around 6am British time yesterday after three unsuccessful attempts to land in rain and fog at Mokpo airport, 310 km (190 miles) south-west of Seoul. The cause of the crash was not known.

The spokesman said three Japanese were among the passengers but most of the others are thought to have been South Koreans.

Villagers, police and medical workers pulled the injured and dead from the wreckage and rushed them to flatter terrain. The domestic news agency Yonhap said said at least three children were being treated in hospital, two of them in critical condition.

Investigators told Yonhap a wing apparently hit the ground first, which may have cushioned the impact to some extent. The plane did not catch fire. The pilot, Hwang In Ki, had 26 years' experience, state radio said.

Weathermen said visibility at the crash site was poor, with strong winds and rain. A typhoon is expected to pass close to the south of the Korean peninsula today.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

Power of the geek Gods

Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

Perfect match

What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high