Korean Air Cargo Flight 6316
HL7373, the aircraft involved in the accident at Narita Airport in early 1990s
|Date||April 15, 1999|
|Summary||Pilot error, confusion between metric measures and Imperial measures|
|Site||Xinzhuang, Minhang District,
|Fatalities||8 (including 5 on ground)|
|Injuries (non-fatal)||42 (all on ground)|
|Aircraft type||McDonnell Douglas MD-11F|
|Operator||Korean Air Cargo|
|Flight origin||Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, Shanghai, People's Republic of China|
|Destination||Gimpo International Airport, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, South Korea|
Korean Air Cargo Flight 6316 (also known as KAL6316 and KE6316) was a scheduled Korean Air Cargo flight from Shanghai to Seoul. On April 15, 1999, the McDonnell Douglas MD-11F operating the route, registered as HL7373, crashed in Xinzhuang, Shanghai shortly after taking off from Hongqiao Airport, killing all 3 crew on board, along with 5 on the ground. It was the second MD-11 crash in just over six months, and as of 2014 remains the second-deadliest MD-11 crash behind Swissair Flight 111.
Loaded with 86 tons of cargo, the MD-11F operating Flight 6316 took off from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport at around 4:00 pm. The flight crew consisted of 54-year-old Captain Hong Sung-sil (Korean: 홍성실), 35-year-old First Officer Park Bon-suk (Korean: 박본석), and 48-year-old flight engineer Park Byong-ki (Korean: 박병기). After taking off, the MD-11F received clearance to climb to 1,500 m (4,900 ft) after the first officer contacted Shanghai Departure.
As the aircraft climbed to 4,500 ft (1,400 m), the captain received the answer of the first officer that the required altitude should be 1,500 ft (460 m), thinking that the aircraft was 3,000 feet too high. Therefore, the captain pushed the control column abruptly forward, causing the aircraft to descend. At 4:04 pm, the aircraft became uncontrollable and eventually crashed into an industrial zone in Xinzhuang, which is 10 kilometres southwest of Hongqiao Airport. The aircraft dived into the ground and exploded, with 3 South Korean crew on board, 2 pupils and 3 migrant workers on the ground perished. The crash was recorded by the nearby Shanghai Earthquake Administration which indicated that the impact forces had generated an equivalent of a 1.6 magnitude earthquake.
The aircraft operated Flight 6316 was a McDonnell Douglas MD-11 freighter with the registration HL7373 and S/N 48409, powered by three Pratt & Whitney PW4460 engines. Built in February 1992, this aircraft was delivered to Korean Air as a brand new passenger aircraft on March 24, 1992. In 1996, the aircraft was converted to a freighter.
On April 27, 1999, the primary investigation revealed no evidence of explosion or mechanical failure before the impact. In June 2001, further investigation carried out by CAAC showed that the first officer had confused 1,500 metres, the required altitude, with 1,500 feet, causing the pilot to make the wrong decision to descend.
- Korean Air incidents and accidents
- National Airlines Flight 102 - also crashed shortly after takeoff.
- Avient Aviation Flight 324 - another air disaster occurred in Shanghai, also involving a MD-11F.[note 1]
- Air China Flight 129 - occurred in Busan three years after the Shanghai crash.[note 2]
- Korean Air Cargo Flight 8509 - another Korean Air Cargo plane which crashed shortly after takeoff from London Stansted Airport eight months after the Shanghai crash.
- The aircraft involved in this accident was initially delivered to Korean Air as HL7372, the sistership of HL7373. It crashed on November 28, 2009.
- The flight was from Beijing, China to Busan, Korea, flown by a Boeing 767-200ER registered B-2552 on April 15, 2002. 129 people were killed in that crash.
|Pre-accident photos of HL7373 from Airliners.net|
- PlaneCrashInfo.Com – Entry on KE6316
- AirDisaster.Com – Entry on KE6316
- Accident description at the Aviation Safety Network
- "Loss: Korean Air Boeing MD-11F - HL-7373" (Archive). Flight International. 15 April 1999.