[EDITORIALS]The crash and the Cup

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[EDITORIALS]The crash and the Cup

Everyone is questioning what caused the crash of the Chinese airplane that resulted in 128 persons dead or missing. This is the first time that a foreign aircraft has crashed in our country, but most of the victims are Koreans. Unless efforts to find out the cause of the crash are subtle and cautious, friction between China and Korea might result. In addition, we are concerned that this accident might rekindle worries over airport safety in Korea just 40 days ahead of the World Cup tournament. The soccer games are expected to lure more than 300,000 foreigners here. Korean authorities should cooperate with their Chinese counterparts to investigate the crash and find the causes quickly.

We know so far that the aircraft strayed 1.8 kilometers from its assigned route and crashed into a mountain while it was trying to land under visual flight rules. Korean authorities say they think the inexperienced pilot may have missed his optimal turning point. The captain of the aircraft is only 31 years old and has only one year of experience. He had landed at Gimhae International Airport only five times in the past. It is also very unusual that the pilot's name changed three times when China Air was trying to report the crew and passenger names to Korean authorities.

Surviving flight attendants cite the extremely poor weather as a possible cause of the crash. But it is also possible that the control tower did not perform properly or there were mechanical defects in the airplane. It is too early to reach any conclusions. Fortunately, the airplane's black boxes were recovered and the pilot survived. We don't see any problem in determining the cause of the crash soon. We should leave the job to the two governments' experts.

Considering that new routes and flights were added en masse to accommodate World Cup tourism, the government should overcome the fears of foreign tourists by inspecting all our airports thoroughly. In particular, all the navigation instruments at Korean airports, including Gimhae International Airport, should be checked and any problems fixed.

In heavy rain and dense fog, volunteers, soldiers and local government officials did their best to rescue survivors, but there were some problems like ambulances that all congregated at one spot. We should make sure our disaster plans are well-prepared.
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