NATIONAL

Mystery grows over Asiana cargo plane crash

By 이선영
  • Published : Jul 31, 2011 - 19:31
  • Updated : Jul 31, 2011 - 19:31
Maritime police have yet to find a crashed Asiana Airlines cargo plane and its pilot and co-pilot, police officials said Sunday.

Mobilizing 10 army and police vessels, three aircraft and underwater sonar, police and the navy have for three days searched the waters off Jeju, where the Boeing-747 aircraft, operated by Asiana Airlines Co., went down early Thursday.

“We found nothing special yet, except for some debris of the aircraft,” a police official said.

The 58-ton aircraft crashed into waters about 107 kilometers west of Jeju, after reporting a fire in its cargo compartment. It was heading to Shanghai from Incheon International Airport.

It was revealed Saturday that one of the two missing pilots had taken out a number of different life and property insurance policies a month before the accident.

According to industry sources, the claims for the seven insurance policies would total more than 3 billion won ($2.85 million) in case of accidental death.

“We are now focusing on finding the cause of the crash,” said an official at Asiana Airlines Co, the nation’s second-largest air carrier. “We can’t comment on the pilot’s personal matters.”

Meanwhile, an investigation panel under the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs on Sunday began analyzing pieces of the aircraft collected so far, together with experts from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.

The plane is said to have carried electronic products and liquids, including lithium batteries and paints. Lithium batteries are considered a potentially hazardous cargo because of their fire risk.

Industry experts said the cause of the accident is likely to remain unknown until the aircraft’s voice recorder and black box flight recorder are found and analyzed.

By Lee Sun-young and news reports (milaya@heraldcorp.com)