1990 Guangzhou Baiyun airport collisions
|Date||October 2, 1990|
|Summary||Hijacking leading to runway collision|
|Site||former Guangzhou Baiyun
Guangzhou, China (PRC)
|Total injuries (non-fatal)||54|
|Flight origin||Xiamen Gaoqi Airport|
|Destination||former Guangzhou Baiyun
|Operator||China Southern Airlines|
|Flight origin||former Guangzhou Baiyun
|Destination||Shanghai Hongqiao Airport|
|Operator||China Southwest Airlines|
The 1990 Guangzhou Baiyun airport runway collisions were the result of the hijacking of Xiamen Airlines Flight 8301 on October 2, 1990, when the hijacked Boeing 737-200 collided with two others on the runways of the old Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport while attempting to land. The hijacked aircraft struck a parked China Southwest Airlines Boeing 707 first, inflicting only minor damage, but then collided with China Southern Airlines Flight 2812, a Boeing 757-200 waiting for takeoff, and flipped on its back. A total of 128 people were killed, including 7 of 9 crew members and 75 of 93 passengers on Flight 8301 and 46 of 110 passengers on Flight 2812.
The incident was the last fatal hijacking (or attempted hijacking) on Chinese soil until Tianjin Airlines Flight 7554 on June 29, 2012, nearly 22 years later. It remains the third-deadliest air disaster in China, after China Southern Airlines Flight 3943 and China Northwest Airlines Flight 2303.
Hijacking of Flight 8301
Xiamen Airlines Flight 8301, using a Boeing 737-200, was hijacked by Jiang Xiaofeng (simplified Chinese: 蒋小峰; traditional Chinese: 蔣小峰; pinyin: Jiăng Xiăofēng, born August 11, 1969 in Linli County, Hunan Province) on Tuesday, October 2, 1990. Jiang, a 21-year old purchasing agent from Hunan, People's Republic of China (PRC), was seeking political asylum in Taiwan.
Prior to the hijacking and shortly after the aircraft took off from Xiamen, Jiang approached the cockpit while holding flowers. The security guards let him in; a TIME article stated that the guards likely let him through because they believed that Jiang was offering flowers to the pilots as a Moon Festival gift. The article stated that reportedly, once in the cockpit, he opened his jacket to reveal what appeared to be fifteen pounds of explosives strapped to his chest. The article added that Jiang ordered all crew members out of the cockpit, except for the pilot, Cen Longyu, whom he directed to fly to Taipei, Taiwan. The pilot did not comply, however, instead continuing toward the original destination of Guangzhou. Reports from the official Xinhua News Agency did not explain why the pilot did not accede to Jiang’s demand.
Communication with the flight was lost. It was finally re-established by the airport in Guangzhou, which authorized the pilot to land at any airport available, inside or outside of the borders of the PRC. The pilot stated that the only other airport that the aircraft still had sufficient fuel to reach was Hong Kong. Guangzhou flight controllers agreed to allow the plane to land in Hong Kong, refuel, and proceed to Taipei. Jiang refused to allow this, however, and threatened to blow up the aircraft if it landed in Hong Kong. The pilot circled Guangzhou, attempting to reason with Jiang. He was eventually forced to land the plane when it ran dangerously low on fuel.
Landing and collisions
Moments before landing, Jiang managed to wrestle control of the aircraft from the pilot. The 737 landed at an excessive speed, and sideswiped a parked China Southwest Airlines Boeing 707-3J6B, slightly injuring the pilot, who was in the cockpit at the time. Still unable to stop, the out-of-control 737 collided with China Southern Airlines Flight 2812, a Boeing 757 waiting to depart to Shanghai, before flipping over on its back and skidding to a halt.
On the Xiamen Airlines 737 Aircraft, 7 of 9 crew members and 75 (including one American, 30 Taiwanese, and 3 people from Hong Kong) of 93 passengers died. On the China Southern 757 Aircraft all 12 crew members survived and 46 of 110 passengers died. Of the passengers who died in the 757, 8 were from Taiwan. A total of 128 people died in the disaster, including Jiang, the hijacker of the Xiamen Airlines aircraft.
- Hijacking description for B-2510 at the Aviation Safety Network
- "Lessons Learned from Hijacking". Flight Safety Digest. Flight Safety Foundation. December 1990. p. 13. Retrieved 23 November 2012. (Archive)
- "World Notes CHINA." TIME. Monday October 15, 1990. Retrieved on November 24, 2009.
- Kristof, Nicholas D. "Hijacking Prompts Beijing Shake-Up." The New York Times. Wednesday October 10, 1990. Section A, Page 3, New York Edition. Retrieved on November 24, 2009.
- Accident description for B-2402 at the Aviation Safety Network
- Accident description for B-2812 at the Aviation Safety Network
- WuDunn, Sheryl. "127 Killed in Jetliner Collision in China." The New York Times. Wednesday October 3, 1990. Section A, Page 3, New York Edition. Retrieved on November 24, 2009.
- FCJ Editors. "Relatives Bring Ashes Home In Sorrow, Anger" (Archive). Taiwan Journal. October 15, 1990.[dead link]
- Special Report: Xiamen Airlines Flight 8301 on AirDisaster.Com
- Flight Safety Foundation's Flight Safety Digest, December 1990—a brief about the incident is on Pages 13–14 (Archive)