“We have nothing but grief,” says the father of the plane crash victim

China Eastern Airlines plane crash in Wuzhou
Rescue workers work at the site where a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 plane flying from Kunming to Guangzhou crashed in Wuzhou, China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, March 24, 2022. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

March 26, 2022

By Martin Quin Pollard and Thomas Suen

WUZHOU, China (Reuters) – As rescue crews sift through the mud at the China Eastern Airlines crash site, dozens of relatives of those on board Flight MU5735 stayed nearby, anxiously awaiting more news.

One was Qin Haitao, who hails from neighboring Hunan Province.

Qin’s daughter Shujun was a passenger on the flight Monday, which was en route from the southwestern inland city of Kunming to the southeastern coastal city of Guangzhou, when it crashed to the ground in a rural part of the Guangxi region, leaving no known survivors.

Guangzhou-based migrant worker Shujun, 40, had traveled to Kunming to accompany her mother to see a specialist who she had heard was very good.

“We couldn’t believe it and didn’t dare say anything for fear my wife wouldn’t be able to take it,” Qin said of the moment he heard news of the crash on Monday.

“Our eyes were full of tears, but we didn’t dare cry. In fact, we knew the truth, but we withheld it from her for a night, half a day plus a night.”

Qin said he initially received no official confirmation about his daughter’s situation. But on Monday evening, his brother-in-law rushed to Guangzhou’s Baiyun International Airport where the flight was due to land. There he was shown a list of the passengers’ names, including Shujuns.

On Tuesday, Qin, his son and two others drove to Wuzhou and the next day visited the crash site, accompanied by China Eastern staff and volunteers.

“It hurts so much,” he said in a broken voice, fighting back tears. “We have nothing but grief now… We live in grief every day.”

As of 10 a.m. Friday, 375 family members of the 132 people on board flight MU5735 had visited the crash site, officials said.

Rescuers have reported finding human remains, passengers’ personal belongings and debris from the plane.

“Many family members burned incense sticks,” Qin said of the crash site visit.

“I prayed and wrote my daughter’s name there. Coincidentally, her birthday was on the same day… so I said, “Dad came to you, my child. Happy birthday.'”

After this site visit, Qin has mostly stayed at his hotel with his son, Shujun’s older brother and only sibling.

Shujun himself leaves behind a teenage daughter.

“We have no inquiries now,” Qin said.

“Our only request is to find my daughter’s body as soon as possible and bring her home.”

(Reporting by Martin Quin Pollard and Thomas Suen; Additional reporting by Ryan Woo and Stella Qiu; Editing by Sam Holmes) “We have nothing but grief,” says the father of the plane crash victim

Bobby Allyn

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