Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
China Airlines Flight 611
China Airlines Flight 611 (CAL611, CI611) flew from Chiang Kai Shek International Airport in Taipei, Taiwan to Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong, China. The flight crashed, killing all aboard on May 25 2002.
On May 25, the flight took off at 2:50pm local time for the 1 hour 20 minutes flight to Hong Kong.
About 20 minutes after takeoff, the aircraft disappeared from radar screens, suggesting the aircraft had experienced an in flight breakup at FL350, near the Penghu Islands at Taiwan Strait, killing all 19 crew members and 206 passengers. 190 of the deceased are Chinese from Taiwan, 14 Chinese from Hong Kong, 1 Singaporean, 9 Chinese from Mainland, and 1 Swede. 3 were infants. 114 were in a group tour organized by five travel agencies to Hong Kong or the Mainland. The plane was expected to arrive at 4:28 PM.
At 5:05 P.M., a military C130 aircraft spotted a crashed airliner 20 nautical miles northeast of Makung. Oil slicks were also spotted at 5:05 PM. The first body was found at 6:10 PM.
Searchers recovered 162 bodies and 15 percent of the wreckage, including part of the cockpit, and found no signs of burns, explosives or gunshots.
There was no distress signal or communication sent out prior to the crash. Radar data suggests that the aircraft broke into four pieces while at FL350. This theory is supported by the fact that articles which would have been found inside the aircraft (magazines, etc.) were found up to 80 miles from the crash site. The weather and climate were normal. The CVR showed that the pilot did not detect any anomaly and was humming the famous oldie tune "When Will You Be Back? " by Teresa Teng.
The flight data recorder from Flight 611 shows that the plane began gaining altitude at a significantly faster rate in the 27 seconds before the plane broke apart, although the extra gain in altitude was well within the plane's design limits. The plane was supposed to be leveling off then as it approached its cruising altitude of 35,000 feet. Shortly before the breakup, one of the aircraft's four engines began providing slightly less thrust. By coincidence, the same engine is the only one that has been recovered so far from the sea floor.
The China Airlines representative said it was due to "metal fatigue", which maintenance could not have picked up. Some families of crash victims have blamed the airline for keeping a 23 year-old plane in service. Investigators found that the B-747 had ruptured its rear fuselage on a take off and the break had been improperly repaired by unqualified mechanics. The improperly repaired fuselage exploded in flight, causing the crash.
What Happened to the Flight Number?
Flight 611 no longer exists. Shortly after the accident, China Airlines changed the flight number to 619, which now serves the Taipei - Hong Kong route along with existing flights 601, 603, 605, 607, 609, 613, 615, and 617.
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