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Investigation Begins into Fatal Crash of Chinese Airliner

Chinese state media say crews have found the flight recorder of a jetliner that crashed and burned during a landing attempt at a northeastern airport Tuesday.

The Henan Airlines plane crash killed 42 people and injured 54 others at an airport at Yichun City in Heilongjiang province about an hour after taking off from Harbin city.

Five children were among the 96 passengers and crew aboard the plane. Several officials of China's Ministry of Human Resources were also on board. The official Xinhua news agency says the pilot survived, but suffered severe facial injuries.

The jetliner was reportedly attempting to land in thick fog. At least one domestic airline, China Southern, had suspended all night flights in and out of Yichun's airport due to safety concerns.

Tuesday's crash is the first major commercial air disaster in China since 2004, when 53 people were killed in the crash of a China Eastern jetliner in northern Inner Mongolia.

The plane was identified as an E-190 manufactured by Brazilian conglomerate Embraer. The company has sent a team of technicians to assist with the investigation into the crash.

State news outlets say Vice Prime Minister Zhang Dejiang has arrived at the crash site to oversee the investigation.

Henan Airlines, previously known as Kunpeng Airlines, is a regional carrier based in northern China. It was launched in 2007 as a joint enterprise between Shenzhen Airlines of China and U.S.-based Mesa Air Group.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.