December 19, 2014 / 6:58 AM / 4 years ago

China jails captain for deadly plane crash

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese court has jailed for three years the captain of a plane that crashed four years ago killing 44 people after finding him guilty of negligence, state media reported on Friday.

Paramilitary policemen stand next to the wreckage of a crashed passenger plane in Yichun, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province August 25, 2010. REUTERS/Stringer

Qi Quanjun, in charge of the fatal Henan Airlines flight, was charged with failing to observe safety rules for landing and leaving the aircraft after the crash, ignoring passengers trapped in the wreckage, the official People’s Daily said on its website.

The ERJ-190 regional jet, built by Brazil’s Embraer, was attempting to land at Yichun in the remote northeast of China with 91 passengers and five crew on board.

But it overshot the runway and burst into flames, in the nation’s worst air disaster since 2004.

The accident was a jolt for China’s fast-growing aviation sector, which had had no major accident for some years, thanks to stricter safety rules, better training and relatively young fleets of mainly Western-made aircraft following a string of crashes in the early 2000s and 1990s.

Small regional carrier Henan Airlines, previously known as Kunpeng Airlines, was ordered to change its name back to Kunpeng Airlines following the crash.

Kunpeng Airlines no longer exists.

Repeated calls to Shenzhen Airlines, which controlled Kunpeng Airlines, went unanswered. Shenzhen Airlines is partly-owned by Air China.

Reporting by Fang Yan and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel

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