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China Airlines Passenger Plane Destroyed in Fire

source:CRIenglish author: time:2007-08-21  

The burnt-out remains of a jetliner of China Airlines from Taiwan lies on the tarmac of Naha Airport on Japan's southern island of Okinawa, on Monday, August 20, 2007. [Photo: China News Service]

A passenger plane of China Airlines from Taiwan was almost completely destroyed in fire on Monday morning at Naha airport of Southern Japan's Okinawa Prefecture, according to Japanese media.

None of the 157 passengers and eight crew members was injured in the accident since the fire broke out after all of them got off the plane in notice of initial flame, airport and Japan's National Police Agency (NPA) officials said.

"All 157 passengers evacuated through the emergency slides," Akihiko Tamura, a transport ministry official, told a press conference in Tokyo.

He also said the eight crew members were confirmed alive. But Kyodo News said two people were taken to hospital and one ground crew member was hurt.

The airline earlier put the passenger number at 155 as it did not count the two infants without tickets.

China Airlines officials were quoted as telling that the fire broke out at around 10:35 a.m., eight minutes after landing, from the engine below the left wing of the Boeing 737-800 plane.

While the cause of the fire is still unknown, the NPA denied any terrorist attack behind the accident.

TV footage showed that strong fire and thick smoke rose from middle and end part of the plane before about ten fire department vehicles and about a hundred firefighters gathered around the plane to put off the fire in about 40 minutes.

The plane, which is numbered flight 120, broke into two pieces and tilted down to the ground, with its left body almost burnt out, latest NKH footage showed.

The plane departed Taipei earlier in the day and landed at Naha, the capital of Okinawa, at 10:27 a.m. local time (0127 GMT).

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