South Korea's Kimhae Airport has inescapable responsibility for an Air China plane crash on April 15, although there were also problems with the Air China flight crew, a chief Chinese investigator told Xinhua on Tuesday.
On April 15, flight CA129 with 166 passengers on board crashed into a mountain while trying to land in rain at Kimhae Airport near Busan. The accident left 122 people dead and six others missing. 38 people survived.
Liu Yajun, head of the Chinese investigation team, told an international hearing in Busan that the chief air controller on duty, Park Junyong, did not own a license for air traffic control issued by the South Korean Construction and Transportation Ministry.
Liu said Park did not know the property of the aircraft, a Boeing 767, and mistakenly directed the airliner to descend to an altitude of 700 feet (213.5m) instead of 1,100 feet (335.5m).
In addition, the airport did not inform the crew of the weather conditions at the time, Liu said. Eight flights before CA129 were directed to land at other airports because of bad weather, Liu told the hearing.
There were also problems with the radar system and lighting at Kimhae Airport, said Liu.
Air China, Kimhae Airport, Boeing, attended the two-day hearing which ended Tuesday.
Liu said that the Civil Aviation Administration of China will actively cooperate with South Korea to find out the real reason behind the crash.
An official of the South Korean investigation group said during the hearing that the final results of the investigation will not be released until June, 2003. The crash was Air China's first fatal one since its establishment 47 years ago.
(Xinhua News Agency November 27, 2002)