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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Plane crash fatality identified
FAA investigators begin probe

Authorities have identified the lone fatality in Monday’s plane crash as Lu Wei Lian, a 37-year-old female tourist from Shanghai, China, and her family is expected to arrive soon to claim her remains at the public hospital.

Lian was among the seven victims of the Monday accident when a Piper Cherokee aircraft operated by Star Marianas Air crashed at the Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport about 6:20am, soon after takeoff. The trip was bound for Tinian.

Lian was the only fatality.

The plane’s pilot, 26-year-old Korean national Jae Choi, was flown to a Manila hospital Tuesday for further treatment.

The other victims, who remain confined at the Commonwealth Health Center yesterday, are Chinese nationals Xiao Hwa Zhuo, Meiling Zhou, Xin Hong, and Xiu Hong Zhu. A Filipino national, 55-year-old Juanito Simitara, was discharged from the hospital on Monday.

Investigators here

Saipan Tribune learned yesterday that a two-member team from the Federal Aviation Administration arrived Tuesday night to lead the crash investigation.

Sources said that team members met with officials of the Commonwealth Ports Authority yesterday as part of the probe.

Star Marianas Air executive vice president Shaun Christian earlier said that federal investigators from both FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are expected to arrive Tuesday night.

Star Marianas Air legal counsel Timothy Bellas also said Monday that the investigation may take some time and that results are not expected soon.

The NTSB is an independent federal agency that investigates every civil aviation accident in the United States and significant accidents in other modes of transportation: railroad, highway, marine, and pipeline.

FAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation that has the authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of civil aviation in the United States.

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