China mourns death of two girls in plane crash

China Featured Korea World - July 8th, 2013

China was today mourning two Chinese teenagers killed in the weekend crash of a San Francisco-bound passenger plane as survivors recounted details of the ill-fated flight.

The Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 burst into flames after crashing short of the runway at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, wounding 182 people.

Chinese nationals made up 141 of the 291 aboard the Boeing 777 which took off from Shanghai, China and stopped in Seoul, South Korea.

The two girls were identified as Ye Mengyuan and Wang Linjia, both 16, from east China’s Zhejiang province. They were among a group of 30 students who were flying to the United States along with their teachers to take part in a summer camp, Chinese broadcaster CCTV reported.

Their bodies were found outside the plane.

Another group of 30 students and six teachers from China’s northern Shanxi province were also aboard the same flight, Xinhua news agency quoted officials as saying.

Chinese President Xi Jinping “mourned for Chinese citizens who lost their lives in the plane crash and expressed his condolences to their families as well as survivors of the crash,” Xinhua reported Sunday.

Pilot error has not been ruled out as a cause of the crash.

The plane was flying well below its target speed and was “approaching a stall” moments prior to impact, Deborah Hersman, the chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board, told a news conference.

It was flying dangerously close to the water as it attempted to land and eventually crashed into the runway, landing on its tail before bursting into flames, survivors told CNN.

Several people taken to hospitals were in a critical condition while most of the survivors walked away unharmed.