China Airlines Flight 611 Breaks Apart in Mid-Air

China Airlines Flight 611 was a Boeing 747 on a regular scheduled flight from Chiang Kai Shek International Airport in Taoyuan to Chek Lap Kok International Airport in Hong Kong on 25 May 2002.

The aircraft broke into pieces in mid-air and crashed, killing all aboard.

On 25 May, the flight took off at 14:50 local time and was expected to arrive at Hong Kong at 16:28 The flight crew consisted of Captain Ching-Fong Yi First Officer Yea Shyong Shieh, and Flight Engineer Sen Kuo Chao. The names of the pilot and first officer, respectively, are alternatively romanized as Yi Ching-Fung and Hsieh Ya-Shiung.

About 25 minutes after takeoff, the aircraft disappeared from radar screens, suggesting it had experienced an in-flight breakup at FL350 (approximately 35,000 feet, or 7 miles), near the Penghu Islands in the Taiwan Strait.

The crash occurred at a time between 15:37 and 15:40; Chang Chia-juch, the Vice Minister of Transportation and Communications, said that two Cathay Pacific aircraft in the area received B-18255's emergency location-indicator signals. All 19 crew members and all 206 passengers died.

Last Saturday’s horrific crash of Taiwan-owned China Airlines Flight 611 has once again raised questions about management decisions to cut costs at the expense of safety standards and ultimately of people’s lives.

The airline’s 22-year-old Boeing 747 disintegrated into four pieces within 20 minutes of taking off from Taipei’s Chiang Kai-Shek airport and plummeted 31,000 feet into the ocean. All 225 crew and passengers lost their lives, including 190 Taiwanese, 14 people from Hong Kong and Macau, nine from mainland China and one Swiss citizen.