Two Chinese officials sacked after flight arson attempt

Beijing, July 29 (IANS) Two officials have been sacked and an airport taken out of operation in China’s Zhejiang province after an arson attempt injured two passengers on a flight, authorities said on Wednesday.

The director and vice director of the civil aviation administration of Taizhou City have been removed from their posts over the incident on Shenzhen Airlines flight ZH 9648, authorities told Xinhua.

A man was subdued by crew and fellow passengers after trying to light a fire on the flight from Taizhou, as it was landing in Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in southern Guangdong province early Sunday morning, the airport said.

The China Central Television (CCTV) quoted a passenger as saying a man with a knife had lit a curtain and newspapers in the first-class cabin. The fire filled the cabin with heavy smoke. Other reports said gasoline was used.

The incident has prompted questions how the arsonist managed to bring a knife, lighter and gasoline onto the plane.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) ordered Taizhou airport to suspend operations from Wednesday morning, saying the airport was found to have “severe safety risks”.

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