WORLD : Chinese Airliner Crashes in River Near Shanghai; at Least 18 Killed

From Times wire services

A Chinese airliner with 54 people aboard crashed today near Shanghai, killing at least 18 passengers and crew members, the official New China News Agency reported.

The plane plunged into a river after an aborted takeoff from Hongqiao Airport, about 14 miles north of Shanghai, at 3:46 p.m., the report said.

Earlier, the agency said 33 passengers and crew members were killed, but a later report said that 18 died and that rescue efforts were continuing. The discrepancy was not explained.

The plane was a Soviet-designed Antonov-24 on Flight 5510 of China's flag carrier, the Civil Aviation Administration of China. It was en route from Shanghai to the southern city of Nanchang.

It was the first crash involving a Chinese airliner since last August, when a flight from Canton crashed while landing at Hong Kong International Airport, killing seven.

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