Aviation authorities said Tuesday a fugitive embezzler hijacked and caused the crash of a jetliner in southern China last week that killed 127 people, but also criticized local airline and airport managers for mishandling the incident.
The government actions came with unusual swiftness for aviation accidents in China and effectively acknowledged wide criticism overseas that officials in Canton, capital of southern Guangdong Province, botched the response to the hijack and crash aftermath.The Boeing 737 of the Xiamen Airline Co., a state-owned regional airline, was hijacked Oct. 2 on a domestic flight and crashed as it landed at Canton's Baiyun Airport, slamming into two parked planes in a fireball that left 127 dead and more than 50 injured.
Canton's Aviation Administration Bureau and Public Security Bureau, in a joint statement, identified the hijacker as Jiang Xiaofeng, 21, a purchasing agent for a county government office in the central city of Changsha.
Jiang had been sought by police since July for embezzling $3,600. He boarded the flight in the east coast city of Xiamen, forced his way into the cockpit and threatened to detonate explosives unless he was flown to Taiwan, the statement said.
The pilot said the plane had only enough fuel for Hong Kong, but Jiang refused to go there. Low on fuel, the crew landed the 737 at the Canton airport, but "the hijacker attacked the pilot and the plane swung to the right, out of control," the statement said.