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China Airlines Jet Is Missing

May 25, 2002

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TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) _ A China Airlines jumbo jet flying from Taiwan to Hong Kong with more than 200 people on board disappeared on Saturday afternoon over the Taiwan Strait, a Taiwanese government official said.

China Airlines, Taiwan’s biggest airline, did not immediately comment on the report, and officials would not say it had crashed. But the airline had joined Taiwan’s air force and coast guard in looking for the aircraft, said Chuang Suo-hang, a government spokesman.

Flight CI611 took off about 2:40 p.m. (2:40 a.m. EDT) from Taipei’s international airport and was reported missing about 3:30 p.m. (3:30 a.m. EDT) near Penghu, a group of islands off Taiwan’s western coast, said Kuo Yao-chi, a government official investigating the missing plane.

About 220 passengers and crew were on the Boeing 747, TVBS cable news reported.

``We just know that the plane disappeared from the radar screen. We don’t have any more details,″ Chuang told reporters.

On May 7, another jetliner owned by China Northern Airlines crashed on approach to the northeastern Chinese port city of Dalian, killing all 112 people on board.

Due to a series of crashes in the 1990s, China Airlines used to be considered one of the world’s most dangerous airlines. But in recent years, the carrier has reshuffled its board and has put a greater emphasis on safety.

The last known fatal China Airlines accident was in 1999, when a jetliner flipped over and burst into flames during a crash landing in Hong Kong, killing three people.

According to the aviation safety website, Airsafe.com, China Airlines has had nine fatal accidents since 1970.

Update hourly