At least 12 people have died, 16 others rescued and several others still missing after a TransAsia Airways plane clipped a bridge and crashed into a river near the Taiwanese capital, Taipei this morning.
Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) broadcast footage of the plane almost submerged in the Keelung river. Out of the 58 people on board, 53 are believed to be passengers and five are crew. Thirty-one of the passengers are tourists from mainland China.
Report says that the ATR-72 turbo-prop plane had just taken off from Taipei Songshan Airport and was heading to the outlying Kinmen islands, just off the coast of the south-eastern Chinese city of Xiamen.
Flight controllers were said to have lost contact with the plane at 10:55 local time (02:55 GMT).
Footage of the plane apparently filmed from inside passing cars showed it banking sharply, hitting a taxi and clipping the bridge before crashing into the river.
Rescue teams are alongside the plane trying to rescue several people still trapped inside.
Cindy Sui reports: ”Many of the people on board are still inside the aircraft.”
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) report that the Chinese tourists could have been on their way home as many people come to Taiwan through Kinmen island.
In July last year, 48 people died when a TransAsia Airways plane crashed amid stormy weather in Taiwan’s Penghu archipelago.
- Founded in 1951 as Taiwan’s first private civilian-operated domestic airline, later expanded to overseas routes.
- One of the region’s smaller carriers though has rapidly expanded in recent years.
- Has about 20 planes in its fleet – a mix of Airbus and dual-propeller ATR planes.
- Gained popularity due to its low-cost tickets.
- Flies many routes between Taiwan and mainland China, and to other parts of South East Asia. [myad]