Plane carrying 58 people hits bridge, crashes into river
TransAsia flight was en route from Taipei to the island of Kinmen
CEO expresses "deep apology to the victims and our crew"
The passenger plane clipped a bridge and plunged into a river in Taipei, according to the island’s official news agency, CNA.
Thirteen people are confirmed dead and dozens remain missing after the TransAsia Airways ATR-72, carrying 58 people, veered out of control en route from Taipei to Kinmen, off the coast of the Chinese province of Xiamen.
Rescuers were working Wednesday to pull survivors from the submerged wreck of the twin engine turboprop aircraft. Of the 58 people on board, 13 were confirmed dead, 28 injured and the remainder remain missing.
Plane clips highway
A dash-cam video captured the moment the plane hurtled out of control above the city’s Nanhu Bridge before crashing into the Keelung River, just after 11 a.m. local time (10 p.m. ET).
CNA reported that the pilot appeared to try to control the plane as it descended, but the aircraft’s wing grazed the overpass, clipping a passing taxi.
The two people in the taxi were injured but are in stable condition after being taken to a hospital, CNA said.
Rescuers in lifeboats pulled survivors from the water and the wreckage. Some passengers appeared to be wearing life jackets as they waited their turn to board rescue boats.
Some passengers appeared to be wearing lifejackets as they waited their turn to board rescue boats.
The military said it had 165 personnel and numerous vehicles nearby to assist rescue efforts if required.
TransAsia CEO apologizes
Hours after the crash, TransAsia Airways CEO Chen Xinde extended a “deep apology to the victims and our crew.”
He said 31 of the passengers aboard the flight were Chinese tourists, including three children. Twenty-two were from Taiwan, including one child.
The airline had sent the passenger manifest to authorities, and families were confirming the identities of the deceased, he said.
Airline staff have been dispatched to hospitals to provide assistance to families and the injured, as well as the taxi driver and passenger who were also receiving treatment.
TransAsia said Thursday that it has started to give families emergency condolence money of 200,000 Taiwanese dollars ($6,360) per victim. It said it would also give extra funds for funeral arrangements of 1.2 million Taiwanese dollars ($38,160) to families identifying bodies.
The 31 Chinese tourists were traveling in two tour groups: the Xiamen Airlines International Travel Service Co. and the Xiamen Tourism Group International Travel Service Co.
Chou Jih-shine, the vice chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation – a quasi-governmental agency that covers cross-Taiwan Strait negotiations – said the agency had informed its Beijing counterpart. Chou added that the agency had sent personnel to the crash site.
Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration said the plane was less than a year old and had last completed a safety check on January 26.
Last year, an older TransAsia ATR 72, which was attempting to land in the Taiwanese Penghu Islands crashed, resulting in 49 deaths.