TransAsia Airways plane crashes into river near Taipei
At least 12 lives were lost this morning when a TransAsia Airways plane swerved out of control, clipped a road bridge and crashed into a river near Taipei, capital of Taiwan.
Fifty-eight people were on board the ATR-72 turbo-prop, which had just taken off on a domestic flight to the Kinmen islands, close to China’s coastal city of Xiamen. Of the 58, five were crew members and 31 were passengers from China.
Flight GE235 had just taken off from Taipei Songshan Airport. It is now mostly submerged in the Keelung River and rescuers have cut open the side of the fuselage in an effort to rescue several people still trapped inside. The ATR-72 had just arrived in Taiwan in 2014.
Videos circulating on social and news media, emanating from Twitter user @Missxoxo168, show the plane falling sideways and clipping a passing vehicle before hitting the river.
Taipei officials are saying that 16 people suffered injuries and 30 are still unaccounted for. Flight controllers lost contact with the plane at 10:55 local time (02:55 GMT).
The BBC reports that TransAsia Airways was founded in 1951 as Taiwan’s first private civilian-operated domestic airline. One of the region’s smaller carriers, it changed to a low-cost model and has rapidly expanded in recent years. The airline has around 20 planes in its fleet, a mix of Airbus and dual-propeller ATR planes.
Last July, TransAsia’s Airways flight GE222 crashed in a residential area on the Taiwanese island of Penghu, killing 48 people.
AFP / BBC