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Pilot Among 38 Survivors of Jet Crash

April 16, 2002|From Reuters

KIMHAE, South Korea — The captain of an Air China aircraft that crashed in South Korea on Monday killing 119 people is alive and in a hospital but not talking about the accident, a South Korean official said today.

The death toll from the crash on a mountainside in Kimhae, near Pusan, rose overnight after a survivor died, said Cho Kwang Sig of the Home Affairs Ministry's emergency situations center.

There were 155 passengers and 11 crew members aboard. Thirty-eight survivors were in the hospital, 28 of them in serious condition, Cho said. Nine people remained missing.

Scenes at the crash site on a muddy wooded slope near some apartment buildings made it clear that it was remarkable that anyone had survived.

Kim Kap Seung of the Pusan regional aviation authority said the captain's name was Wu Xinlu and gave his age as 32.

South Korean television showed the captain in a hospital bed, his mouth swollen and cut. Cho said the man had lost some teeth.

It was not clear whether other crew members had survived, although the New China News Agency said two flight attendants were among the survivors.

In the Kimhae City Hall cafeteria, relatives wailed as an official read out seat numbers of those bodies recovered. A Pusan prosecutor said that he had toured morgues overnight and that so far only three of the corpses had been identified.

Flight CA-129 from Beijing hit the wooded mountainside in fog and rain in Kimhae, where the airport serving Pusan is located.

Most of the survivors were in the front section of the 17-year-old Boeing 767, local media said.

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