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Digital Archive International History Declassified

April 12, 1955

CABLE FROM THE GUANGDONG PROVINCIAL FOREIGN AFFAIRS OFFICE, 'SITUATION REGARDING THE LOSS OF OUR BANDUNG BOUND AIRCRAFT'

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    Officials in Guangdong report on the plane crash and the rescue effort.
    "Cable from the Guangdong Provincial Foreign Affairs Office, 'Situation regarding the Loss of Our Bandung Bound Aircraft'," April 12, 1955, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 207-00088-01, 1-2. Translated by Jeffrey Wang. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114670
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Date: 12 April 1955

From: Guangzhou

Forward to: [Chen] Jiakang, Huang Hua, Gong Peng

Forwarded to: Chairman, [Liu] Shaoqi, [Zhou] Enlai, Zhu De, Chen Yun, [Peng] Dehuai, [Deng] Xiaoping, Chen Yi, [Xi] Zhongxun, [Yang] Shangkun, Foreign Ministry, Su Yu, [Wang] Jiaxiang, [Li] Kenong, Central Public Department, Unified Military Command, Military Intelligence, Central Propaganda Department, Foreign Commerce Department, Deng Tuo, Yang Gang, [Wu] Lengxi.

Contents: Situation regarding the Loss of Our Bandung Bound Aircraft

To the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the South China Bureau [of the Chinese Communist Party]:

Hong Kong Xinhua News Agency telegraphed us this morning regarding the situation on the loss of the Air India aircraft carrying our Bandung-bound personnel. According to an unconfirmed report by Reuters on the 11th, the aircraft landed in the sea about a hundred nautical miles north of Kuching, Sarawak state, Borneo. The last time the aircraft contacted Hong Kong airport was 6:25 in the afternoon. (The aircraft took off from Hong Kong at 1 in the afternoon).

According to the Air India Company based in Hong Kong, they confirmed that they lost contact with the aircraft at 6:35 in the afternoon. There was still one hour of flying between the location of the [crash] and Jakarta. The company further stated that Jakarta, Bandung, Singapore and Kuching all began air and sea rescue missions.

In addition, Reuters in Singapore reported that on the 12th at 2 in the afternoon: the Air India aircraft at 6:30 in the afternoon (Hong Kong time) had sent 3 signals of distress. Eight minutes before [the signals of distress], the aircraft still reported to Jakarta aircraft that the flight had been normal and current flying was also normal. After the aircraft was lost, the Singapore Air Force administration finally dispatched radar-equipped airship at 10:30PM, conducting searching missions at Pendek Island which is 250 nautical miles north of Singapore. The same report also cited a high ranking employee of the New Delhi civilian airline claiming that the hope of rescuing all passengers is slim.

Guangdong Provincial Foreign Affairs Office

12 April 1955