Crash at Japan Airport Kills More Than 240

NAGOYA, Japan -- A Taiwanese airplane carrying 272 people crashed and burst into flames at a central Japan airport Tuesday night, killing at least 245 in Japan's second-worst air disaster, officials said. An announcement by the fire department in Nagoya, 270 kilometers west of Tokyo, said 11 survivors were being treated in hospitals. The fate of the remaining 30 people remained unaccounted for. A Transport Ministry official said that minutes before the crash, the pilot radioed that he would abandon his landing attempt and try again. The pilot did not give a reason. Television footage showed rescuers combing the wreckage of the China Airlines A300-600R Airbus for survivors or additional victims after it crashed on landing from Taipei, Taiwan. Chang Tai-hsih, the head of the China Airlines branch in Japan, said the plane, Flight 140, was carrying 257 passengers, including two infants, and 15 crew members when it crashed at 8:18 P.M. The cause of the crash was not immediately clear late Tuesday. Television footage after the crash showed the entire plane reduced to rubble. Bodies were laid out on a blue tarpaulin on the tarmac. The crash was the second worst in Japanese aviation history. The worst single-plane accident in any country occurred Aug. 12, 1985, when a Japan Airlines Boeing 747 crashed into a mountain on a domestic flight, killing 520 people. Chang said the right wing of the plane touched the ground just before the crash. He said he could not comment on reports the aircraft was having engine trouble and that the passengers were unloaded and reboarded once in Taipei before takeoff. An airport police official said the plane's voice recorder has been recovered. The recorder, contained in the plane's fireproof "black box," is expected to help investigators discover the cause of the accident .A Transport Ministry official said the fire was put out at around 8:55 P.M. On the passenger list, more than 100 of the names were not Japanese. No breakdown by nationality was available, but most of these were Chinese names. The Japan Broadcasting Corporation quoted a witness as saying the plane hit nose-first near the beginning of the runway and appeared not to have its landing gear down. A series of three explosions followed, and the plane erupted in flames, it quoted him as saying. Another witness, identified by the network only as Mr. Nomura, said the plane failed in an attempt to pull back up just before landing. A spokesman for Airbus Industrie, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity, said the company i splanning to send an investigative team to the site. The A300-600R, a twin-engine wide-body jet, has not been involved in a crash before, but other A300 models have been involved in six accidents.