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Captain of crashed Chinese plane alive

world Updated: Aug 25, 2010 12:21 IST

IANS
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The captain of the passenger plane that crashed in northeast China killing 42 people late Tuesday is alive, but unable to talk, doctors said.

It appeared that Qi Quanjun, lying on a hospital bed, could understand the questions, but he had difficulties in talking due to severe face injuries, doctors said. He does not have life-threatening conditions, Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

The bodies of 42 passengers were recovered from the wreckage of the plane which crashed near the Lindu airport on the outskirts of Yichun city in Heilongjiang province, an official said.

Yichun Mayor Wang Aiwen Wednesday corrected the death toll to 42 from the previously reported 43. Fifty-four others were injured, including seven severely, he said.

The injured are being treated in four medical institutes in the city.

Families were seen waiting anxiously at an open ground in front of the airport.

The ERJ-190 jet, manufactured by the Brazilian aerospace conglomerate Embraer with maximum passenger capacity of 108, crashed near the runaway of Lindu airport of Yichun at 9:36 p.m. Tuesday, some 40 minutes after it took off from the provincial capital Harbin.

Ninety-one passengers, including five children, and five crew members boarded the plane, sources with the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said.

The cause of the crash is being investigated.

The tragedy prompted Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang to lead a team of transportation, health, work safety, and security officials to Yichun overnight.

Lindu Airport is located in a forest some nine km away from downtown Yichun, a city with about one million population.

China had kept a remarkable air travel safety record of about 2,100 days -- or 69 months -- without accidents before the passenger plane crash in Yichun city Tuesday, statistics from the CAAC show.

More than five years ago, a CRJ-200 jet, owned by China Eastern Airlines, crashed shortly after take-off into a park in Baotou city, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, killing all 53 people on board and two others on the ground.