China's Henan Airlines Flight 8387 Overshoots Runway Killing 42


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China's Henan Airlines Flight 8387 Overshoots Runway Killing 42

Mike Mitchell

August 25, 2010 - On Tuesday China's regional airline, Henan Airlines, Flight 8387 (VD 8387) had departed Harbin Taiping International Airport, Harbin, China to Yichun Lindu Airport, Yichun, China crashed. On board the Embraer E-190 aircraft were 91 passengers and 5 crew. About 9:30 AM, on approach to Yichun Lindu Airport, the pilot, Captain Qi Quanjun under heavy fog acknowledged to air traffic control that he had the airport and runway lights.

The Embraer E-190 aircraft touched down 3,300 feet from the landing threshold and as a result overshot the runway. The Embraer E-190 crashed, caught on fire and 42 passengers were killed. The fire was so intense that little of the fuselage remains. Wreckage debris was scattered across the airport and it had been reported that some passengers were ejected from the aircraft upon impact. 

Some of the killed passengers were found 65 to 100 feet from the plane's wreckage in a muddy field. The majority of the passengers that were killed were seated in the rear of the aircraft. Those passengers that survived the crash are reported to be in good condition although all surviving passengers were brought to area hospitals. The pilot survived the accident, although he sustained heavy facial injuries.


Passengers reported the aircraft landed rear first and it was a hard landing, before the landing many passengers reported that when they looked outside their passenger window they could not see anything. Some of the survivors reported they escaped through a hole in the front of the plane and the aircraft had broken into two pieces. Crew members immediately began searching for survivors through heavy smoke inside the aircraft. 

Rescue operation lasted for around eight hours. Personnel at the scene shifted their focus today clearing the wreckage. Flight 8387 was the first major commercial airline accident in China for nearly six years. The Chinese government and the aircraft manufacturer, Embraer, have investigators at the crash site. The aircraft flight recorders were recovered at the scene and sent to Beijing for analysis. 


It is not clear what caused the accident however industry experts have indicated that a night landing under heavy fog should not have been allowed at this airport and that pilot error will most likely be one of the contributing factors. In 2009, China?s third largest airline, Southern Airlines decided it would not allow any night flights into Lindu Airport due to concerns of the airport's surrounding terrain, runway lighting and weather conditions. Li Jian, deputy director at the Civil Aviation Administration of China, disagrees the airport is unfit for night flights.

The Embraer E-Jet is a narrow body, twin engine, and medium range aircraft produced by Embraer. The aircraft has a good track record for safety. However, in the past Henan Airlines, then called Kunpeng Airlines previously reported to Embraer, General Electric and officials from CAAC problems with faulty data readings showing up in their flight control systems. 

It has been reported today that Li Qiang, Henan Airlines general manager has been relieved from his duties and replaced by Cao Bo as the acting general manager. It is unclear at this time what his role was if any with the crash. The Chinese province of Henan has revoked the right of Henan Airlines to use its name, stating the incident had tarnished its reputation. Henan's provincial government has told the airline it can no longer use its named after the province.  (see More Than 200 Chinese Pilots Pad Their Resumes)


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