, BEIJING, Sep 6 – China said Monday it is investigating the qualifications of the nation\’s commercial pilots after revelations that more than 200 of them had falsified their resumes.
The probe comes after 42 people died on August 24 when a Brazilian-made regional jet flown by Henan Airlines crashed at a small airport in northeastern China\’s Heilongjiang province.
Fifty-four passengers and crew survived the crash, in which the plane missed the runway, sparking speculation that pilot error was to blame.
The investigation was launched by the Civil Aviation Administration of China, the country\’s aviation regulator, the central government\’s news website said.
The resumes of more than 200 Chinese commercial pilots were found to have been falsified, the report said, with some of them embellishing their flight histories.
At least half of the pilots in question worked for Shenzhen Airlines, which owns Henan Airlines, the government report said.
Investigators were looking into the possibility of pilot error in the Henan Airlines crash, it added.
The crash was China\’s first major air disaster in nearly six years.
Authorities have already ordered safety checks of the country\’s fast-growing civil aviation fleet of 1,300 planes in the wake of the disaster.
Last week, the aviation administration said it was looking for crash clues related to the plane\’s manufacturer, operator, crew, maintenance record, and with air traffic management and the airport authorities.
Authorities in central Henan province have also ordered the airline to change its name to prevent the crash from tarnishing the province\’s image. The company had previously been known as Kunpeng Airlines.
The accident occurred after the plane missed the runway and crashed into a field next to the airport, cracking the cabin and triggering an explosion and subsequent fire, state media reported earlier, citing an initial probe.