From Chongping in southwest China to Nyingchi in Tibet, Tibet Airlines flight TV9833 was scheduled to take off this morning. But the Airbus A319 is not in the air. Instead, it now sits beside the Chongping airstrip – with no engines or landing gear, with a charred fuselage.
Anyone who sees the photos of the dilapidated and burning plane can only breathe a sigh of relief, given that all 113 passengers and nine crew members were able to leave the wreckage without major injuries. Only 36 people were lightly injured in the crash, China’s aviation authority said Thursday. The Tibet Airlines Airbus A319, registration B-6425, was evacuated via evacuation slides and is now to the left of runway 03 at Chongping Airport and is a case for the rebreather.
In fact, the nearly ten-year-old plane should have left for Tibet on Thursday morning. Nothing else seemed to stand in the way until the start race. According to the first information from China, however, the pilots noticed “anomalies” when accelerating on the track. They aborted the high-speed takeoff. Why the A319 then did not stay on the runway, but instead turned left onto the grass, crossed several taxiways, lost the landing gear and both engines and only then came to rest, and finally, to make matters worse, caught fire is currently still unclear. Tibet Airlines and authorities said only that the incident was under investigation.
Overnight stop in Chongping
Tibet Airlines, a subsidiary of Air China, took delivery of the brand new damaged Airbus in November 2012. The aircraft equipped with two CFM56 turbofans had landed in Chongping on the evening of May 11 from Lhasa, the hub of the airline, and had made an overnight stopover in the southwestern Chinese metropolis. In the weeks preceding the accident, B-6425 had been on the road several times a day – apparently without incident.