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Tuesday, 16 April, 2002, 07:32 GMT 08:32 UK
Flight CA-129: The final moments

The investigation into the crash of Air China Flight CA129 is focusing on the theory that the plane was blown off course by strong headwinds.

Air traffic controllers had told the plane - a 17-year old Boeing 767-200 - to take a slight detour before landing because of bad weather. Visibility was poor, with heavy fog and rain.

One of the aircraft's black box flight recorders has been recovered from the crash site, eight kilometres (five miles) north of Busan.

The plane was making its final approach to the city's Kimhae International airport.

Witnesses and survivors said the plane lowered altitude before it ploughed into the slopes of Shineo mountain tail first and burst into flames.

At least 120 people are believed to have been killed, but 38 survived. Eight people have been reported missing.

Crucial factors

Most survivors were travelling in the front section of the aircraft, rescuers said.

Air China Boeing 767-200
The Boeing 767-200 had been in service for 17 years

The densely-forested hillside may have also cushioned the plane's impact, while heavy rain helped to extinguish burning aviation fuel, officials said.

Excerpts released by aviation authorities of the final conversation between the pilot and the air traffic control tower indicate the pilot was unaware of the impending disaster.

South Korean aviation officials said details of the results of the investigation would not be released until all the flight data had been analysed.

The crash is believed to be the first in Air China's 47-year history.

See also:

15 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Eyewitness: Korea plane crash
15 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
In pictures: Korea plane crash
15 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Chinese plane crashes in S Korea
15 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Air China's record blotted
12 Feb 02 | World
Air disaster timeline
22 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
Double disaster hits China
08 Mar 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: South Korea
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