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Chinese Plane Crashes; Many Reported Hurt : Aviation: Reports say jet was hijacked. Others say an explosion was heard before it landed and hit an airliner on runway.


BEIJING- — A Chinese airliner carrying 90 people crashed into another plane, causing numerous casualties, as it landed at Canton airport today, according to reports from the southern China city.

Some reports said the Boeing 737, which apparently took off from the Fujian province city of Xiamen, had been hijacked before the crash. Government-run Hong Kong radio said there were unconfirmed reports of an explosion shortly before the landing.

"What we heard is that most of them died," a Canton hospital official told Hong Kong's TVB television station. "Only a few survived. We received two who died."

Another hospital official told the television station: "The aircraft was full, and the others were full too. You can imagine how many died."

The television station said it had contacted six Canton-area hospitals and was told that there were at least nine survivors.

An official of one Canton hospital contacted from Hong Kong by the British news agency Reuters said his institution had received five casualties. One, a man in his 70s believed to be from Taiwan, died.

A Boeing 737 can carry about 130 people, but the Canton People's Broadcasting station reported that the plane, owned by China's state airline CAAC, was carrying 90 people.

Aviation officials in Hong Kong and Canton said the airplane apparently had been hijacked.

Various reports from Canton said the plane hit one or two other Chinese planes after touchdown. An airport official in Canton told Reuters that a Boeing 757 on the tarmac was badly damaged.

A spokesman at the U.S. Consulate in Canton said there were no immediate reports of any American casualties.

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