November 2, 2001

Flights to US Back to Normal

Chinese airlines resumed flights to the United States yesterday as the search for survivors continued after the terror attacks last Tuesday on New York and Washington D.C. which claimed thousands of civilian lives.

The death toll is expected to shoot up as about 5,000 people are still unaccounted for, including 62 Chinese in New York, according to media reports yesterday.

But Yu Kanglin, an official at the Chinese General Consulate in New York, told China Daily yesterday that reports had misrepresented the number of the Chinese missing who were not victims of the collapse of the World Trade Center.

"Many of the missing are people living in the city quite far away from the crumble site. They were not present in the locality when the catastrophe happened. Due to telecommunication problems, their domestic relatives reported their names to us for help," said Yu.

Yu did not say how many of the 62 were victims of the tragedy, but he said the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs is expected to disclose the latest figure of those missing today.

Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday that a relative of Chinese couple Yang Shuyin and Zheng Yuguang, who were killed on board one of the planes which was hijacked and crashed in the United States on last Tuesday, is to apply for visas to the US and the Chinese Government has given her all possible help.

Yang Shuzhen, a doctor in Changzhou of East China's Jiangsu Province, has decided to go to the US to handle funeral details of her sister and sister-in-law.

Starting yesterday, both Beijing-based Air China and Shanghai-based China Eastern Airlines re-opened their direct flights to the west coast of the United States. From there, passengers can be transferred to other cities by the companies' US partners.

The CA985 flight of Air China left Beijing Capital International Airport at 14:10 yesterday afternoon, with all the 405 seats of the Boeing747-400 full.

An hour later, another passenger plane from the airline took off from the airport heading for Canada.

They were first two Chinese planes flying to North America after the US aviation authority shut airports down on September 11.

Two flights from US-based Northwest Airlines and United Airlines had respectively flown to the US on Saturday, soon after US opened the skies to limited air carriers.

Both airlines resumed their normal operation along China-US air routes yesterday.

(chinadaily.com.cn 09/17/2001)

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