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Posted at 12:28 a.m., Saturday, May 25, 2002

China Airlines 747 crashes

By William Ide
Associated Press

TAIPEI, Taiwan A China Airlines flight from Taipei to Hong Kong crashed today in the Taiwan Strait with 225 people on board. There were no immediate reports of survivors.

Flight 611 was reported missing near Penghu, a group of islands off Taiwan's western coast, at about 3:30 p.m. 50 minutes into its flight, said Kuo Yao-chi, a government official investigating the crash.

The Taiwanese airline's Boeing 747-200 was carrying 206 passengers and 19 crew, Chang Chia-chu, a vice transportation minister, said at a news conference.

"Things such as the plane's cabin door, life jackets and other things related to the crash were being discovered," Chang said.

There was a large oil slick about 20 miles northeast of Penghu, Chang said. The islands are about 170 miles southwest of Taipei, about 30 miles off the coast.

ETTV cable news quoted Penghu fishermen as saying they saw bodies floating in the water.

China Airlines official Wang Cheng-yu confirmed at a news conference that the plane crashed near Penghu. He said that the Boeing 747-200, built in 1979, was the last plane of its kind in the airline's fleet.

Taiwan's air force and coast guard were using ships and helicopters to look for the aircraft, he said.