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Korean Air Cargo Flight 6316 (also known as KAL6316 and KE6316) was a scheduled Korean Air Cargo freight flight from Shanghai to Seoul. On April 15, 1999, the McDonnell Douglas MD-11F operating the route, registered as HL7373, crashed in Xinzhuang, Shanghai shortly after taking off from Hongqiao Airport, killing all 3 crew on board, along with 5 on the ground.[1]

Korean Air Cargo Flight 6316
KOREAN AIR MD-11 (HL7373 48409 490) (4083311506).jpg
HL7373, the aircraft involved in the accident, 1990s
Date15 April 1999 (1999-04-15)
SummaryPilot error due to confusion between Metric and Imperial measures
SiteXinzhuang, Minhang District,
Shanghai, China
Total fatalities8
Total injuries42
Aircraft typeMcDonnell Douglas MD-11F
OperatorKorean Air Cargo
IATA flight No.KE6316
ICAO flight No.KAL6316
Call signKorean Air 6316
Flight originShanghai Hongqiao International Airport, Shanghai, People's Republic of China
DestinationGimpo International Airport, Gangseo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Ground casualties
Ground fatalities5
Ground injuries42



Loaded with 86 tons of cargo, the MD-11F operating Flight 6316 took off from Shanghai Hongqiao Airport at around 4:00 pm. The flight crew consisted of 54-year-old Captain Hong Sung-sil (Korean: 홍성실), 35-year-old First Officer Park Bon-suk (Korean: 박본석), and 48-year-old flight engineer Park Byong-ki (Korean: 박병기). After taking off, the MD-11F received clearance to climb to 1,500 m (4,900 ft) after the first officer contacted Shanghai Departure.

As the aircraft climbed to 4,500 ft (1,400 m), the first officer told the captain that the required altitude should be 1,500 ft (460 m), thinking that the aircraft was 3,000 feet too high. Therefore, the captain pushed the control column abruptly forward, causing the aircraft to descend at over 34,000 feet per minute. At 4:04 pm, the aircraft became uncontrollable due to the steep dive and eventually crashed into an industrial zone in Xinzhuang, which is 10 kilometres southwest of Hongqiao Airport. The aircraft impacted the ground and exploded. Along with the 3 South Korean crew on board, 2 pupils and 3 migrant workers on the ground also perished. The crash was recorded by the nearby Shanghai Earthquake Administration which indicated that the impact forces had generated an equivalent of a 1.6 magnitude earthquake.[2]


The aircraft operated Flight 6316 was a McDonnell Douglas MD-11 freighter with the registration HL7373 and S/N 48409, powered by three Pratt & Whitney PW4460 engines. Built in February 1992, this aircraft was delivered to Korean Air on March 24, 1992. In 1996, the aircraft was converted to a freighter.


On April 27, 1999, the primary investigation revealed no evidence of explosion or mechanical failure before the impact. In June 2001, further investigation carried out by CAAC showed that the first officer had confused 1,500 metres, the required altitude, with 1,500 feet, causing the pilot to make the wrong decision to descend.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The aircraft involved in this accident was initially delivered to Korean Air as HL7372, the sistership of HL7373. It crashed on November 28, 2009.
  2. ^ The flight was from Beijing, China to Busan, Korea, flown by a Boeing 767-200ER registered B-2552 on April 15, 2002. 129 people were killed in that crash.


  1. ^ (Chinese)"一架飞机今天下午在上海附近坠落" [A plane crashed near Shanghai this afternoon.]. 新浪网. April 15, 1999. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
  2. ^ (Chinese)"用科学捍卫尊严──中国民航调查"4·15"韩航坠机事故原因纪实 第二节 寻找证据" [Defending Dignity with Science--China Civil Aviation Survey "4·15" Han Hang Crash Accidents Documentary Section 2 Searching for Evidence]. Xu Haiping, Huang Shiqing, Wang Zhide. Retrieved December 21, 2013.
  3. ^ (Chinese)"上海机场大韩航空事故原因为驾驶员失误" [The reason for the Korean airport’s Korean aviation accident was driver error.]. The Chosun Ilbo. Retrieved December 21, 2013.

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