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Hong Kong Removes Plane Wreckage

August 30, 1999

HONG KONG (AP) _ Officials opened the Hong Kong airport’s south runway on Monday after removing the charred wreckage of the China Airlines jetliner that crashed and killed three people last week.

The runway was cleared shortly after dawn, and aviation officials approved the first commercial flight by midmorning, said Alice Chan, operations officer of the Civil Aviation Department.

Workmen cut the fuselage of the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 into three pieces and hauled them away over the weekend, Chan added.

Bad weather and technical problems stalled efforts last week to clear the runway after China Airlines Flight CI642 from Bangkok scraped the runway, sparking a fire, and flipped over onto a grassy area on Aug. 22.

Three people died and 21 people were still hospitalized on Monday, one in critical condition.

The runway, one of two at Chek Lap Kok airport, suffered very little damage, said Airport Authority spokesman Chris Donnolley.

The most expensive repairs were replacing more than 40 runway lights broken as the Taiwanese carrier came down during a tropical storm, but Donnolley declined to give an amount to the total costs of repair.

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the crash.

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