Crash sparks call for safety check of plane

Updated: 2015-05-12 07:42

By Sun Li and Hu Meidong in Xiamen(China Daily)

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Aviation experts said the Chinese Modern Ark 60 aircraft should undergo safety checks, following an accident during a landing on Sunday in Fuzhou, Fujian province.

An inbound passenger plane veered off the runway at Fuzhou Changle International Airport on Sunday at noon, injuring seven people.

The plane, operated by the Chinese domestic carrier Joy Air, had 45 passengers and seven cabin crew aboard when the accident happened.

An initial investigation by the East China Regional Administration of the Civil Aviation Administration of China said on Monday that human error may have been to blame in the accident.

Although the investigation did not point to a flaw in the airplane's design, Zhou Jisheng, a civil aviation researcher, urged the manufacturer to conduct an immediate check.

The Fuzhou incident involved a broken undercarriage, or landing gear, the latest in a series of MA-60 incidents related to the gear. That raises a question about the safety of the airplane and whether it has a design flaw, Zhou said.

There have been 17 MA-60 accidents in the past six years, seven of them related to the landing gear.

Introduced in 2000, the MA-60 is China's only homegrown passenger aircraft in service. By the end of last year, there had been more than 270 orders for the aircraft at home and abroad. In China, Joy Air and Okay Airways are its two major customers.

In February 2014, a Joy Air MA-60 crashed during landing at Zhengzhou airport, in Central China's Henan province, when the front landing gear suddenly retracted. There were no casualties.

In the same month, an Okay Airways MA-60 circled for about an hour and a half as the crew tried to work out problems in its landing signal system. The aircraft eventually landed safely in Shenyang, Liaoning province.

Wu Peixin, an aviation expert in Beijing, said the Fuzhou incident would be a wake-up call for the plane's manufacturer, and he urged the maker to explain the incident to the public as soon as possible.

"People may take the airplane in the future, and they need to know the investigation result as it concerns their safety. The manufacturer should not keep them in the dark," Wu said.

The MA-60 was developed and built by State-run Xi'an Aircraft Industry Group. No comment has been made by the company as of Monday.

The CAAC's East China Regional Administration said further investigation of the incident is underway.

Zhao Lei in Beijing contributed to this story.

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