China Northern Airlines Flight 6136

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China Northern Airlines Flight 6136
B-2139 MD-82 China Northern Al NGO 20MAY03 (8415548219).jpg
A China Northern Airlines McDonnell Douglas MD-82 similar to the aircraft that crashed.
Arson summary
Date May 7, 2002 (2002-05-07) (The same day as EgyptAir Flight 843)
Summary In-flight arson by passenger
Site Dalian, China
Passengers 103
Crew 9
Fatalities 112 (all)
Aircraft type McDonnell Douglas MD-82
Operator China Northern Airlines
Registration B-2138

China Northern Airlines Flight 6136 (CBF6136, CJ6136) was a flight from Beijing Capital International Airport to Dalian Zhoushuizi International Airport, a coastal city in Liaoning province of the People's Republic of China.

On May 7, 2002 the plane crashed into the bay near Dalian, shortly after the pilot reported "fire on board", killing all 103 passengers and 9 crew members. It was the second air disaster involving PRC aircraft in less than a month, after the Air China Flight 129 disaster on April 15. The cause of the fire was later determined to be arson.


The MD-82 jetliner left Terminal 3's gate B6 at 20:22 and took off at 20:37 local time (12:37 UTC) from Beijing. At 21:20 local time (13:20 UTC), as the plane neared Dalian, the captain reported "fire in cabin" to Dalian tower and requested an emergency landing. At 21:24 local time (13:24 UTC) the aircraft disappeared from the radar screen and lost contact with air traffic control. It was due to arrive in Dalian at 21:40 local time (13:40 UTC).

Eyewitnesses on a nearby fishing boat reported that "a plane with fire and smoke crashed into the sea, broken in two parts."

At 15:05 local time (07:05 UTC) on May 14, the cockpit voice recorder was picked up by the searchers from the sea, seven days after the disaster. The flight data recorder was picked up the same day at 17:05 local time (09:05 UTC).

Accident report[edit]

Results of the accident investigation were published by the Xinhua News Agency on December 8, 2002. A passenger named Zhang Pilin (张丕林) apparently set fire to the passenger cabin with gasoline, causing the plane to lose control and crash.

Just several days before the disaster, there were reports that a passenger named Zhang Pilin had purchased seven air insurance policies worth a total of 1,400,000 RMB (about 170,000 USD) prior to boarding the flight.

The investigation on the wreckage showed a quantity of gasoline near Zhang's seat, and that most passengers, including Zhang, died of carbon monoxide inhalation. The engine, cabin floor, and other critical parts showed no signs of burning or explosion.

Further investigation showed that Zhang had flown from Dalian to Beijing and returned to Dalian on Flight 6136 the same day. According to the video monitor record, he had spent several hours smoking cigarettes in the waiting hall of Beijing airport. Zhang purchased two insurance policies before leaving Dalian and purchased the remaining five in Beijing. Some water bottles filled with gasoline were also found in Zhang's apartment. However, no detailed accident report has been provided, due to its being considered a "highly sensitive" topic in China.[citation needed]

Some rumors report Zhang was a terminally ill cancer patient and/or he was living with a huge debt, but there has been no official confirmation of these rumors.[citation needed]

Purported Bo Xilai / Gu Kailai connection[edit]

On 22 April 2012, an article in the Daily Mail, quoting an interview with Chinese journalist Jiang Weiping in the Sunday Express, claimed that the destruction of Flight 6136 was ordered by Bo Xilai and his wife Gu Kailai in order to silence Li Yanfeng, wife of Han Xiaoguang, a wealthy hotelier and ally of Bo's political opponents.

Mrs. Li was returning from Beijing after petitioning for the release of her jailed husband. She was allegedly carrying letters pleading for his release which were written by the daughters of Communist Party general secretary Hu Jintao and former president Li Xiannian.

Chinese journalist Jiang Weiping, who was being held with Han after accusing the Communist Party of embezzlement, told the Sunday Express details of the crash were covered up and the black box was never discovered. The official news agency Xinhua report blamed passenger Zhang Pilin, a former member of the secret police, for setting fire to the plane in a suicide attack, and was dismissed by Jiang as being an attempt to scapegoat Zhang.

Quoting Jiang, the article says "Jiang said Han told him he believes Gu and Bo sabotaged the aircraft to assassinate his wife."[1]

This claim is held by some to be a conspiracy theory and false,[2] mainly because Flight 6136 was from Beijing to Dalian, not the other way around. Also, crashing Flight 6136 just to silence Li Yanfeng would be very illogical, as a plane crash would draw media attention to the issue.


Crew members[edit]

  • Captain: Wang Yongxiang (王永祥 Hanyu Pinyin: Wáng Yǒngxiáng), born in 1959, 11,000 hours flight time.
  • First Officer: Chen Xuming (陈旭明 Chén Xùmíng), born in 1965, 3,300 hours flight time.
  • Flight Mechanic: Pan Mingqi (潘明奇 Pān Míngqí), born 1954 or 1955. 4980 hours flight time


95 of the 103 on board were Chinese. Two were Japanese, two Italian, one Indonesian, one from Singapore, one from Hong Kong, SAR and one from the United States.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°55′15″N 121°38′21″E / 38.92083°N 121.63917°E / 38.92083; 121.63917