Asiana Airlines freighter crashes

AN Asiana Airlines 747 freighter operated by two crewmembers crashed in the East China Sea off of South Korea this morning.

The pilot reported mechanical difficulties and a fire around 10 minutes before the aircraft disappeared from radar screens. The pilot signalled the emergency to Jeju International Airport where it was trying to land, officials said.

The freighter, operated by South Korean pilot, Choi Sang-ki and his co-pilot, was transporting computers, semiconductors, resin solution and paint among other items, including reports of lithium batteries, from South Korea’s Incheon International Airport to Pudong in China.

Asiana Airlines said the cargo had been loaded in line with international air transport regulations.

The coast guard recovered part of an Asiana Airlines wing, life jackets and parts of a pilot seat. The two pilots are still missing. The airline has also sent its own emergency specialists to the area, Jason Kim, a spokesman for Asiana, said.

South Korea’s recent heavy rains appear not to have had an impact on flying conditions, Kim said, but high winds were recorded.

The investigation continues.

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