Taiwan Plane Crashes Into River

Taiwan Plane Crashes Into RiverTaiwan Plane Crashes Into River

A plane carrying mostly Chinese tourists crashed into a river in Taiwan on Wednesday, killing at least 23 people. Video footage emerged showing the TransAsia Airways plane clipping a bridge as it came down shortly after take-off from a Taipei airport.

The plane, carrying 58 people, has broken up and the fuselage is lying half-submerged in the Keelung River. Rescue efforts are ongoing, BBC reported.

Rescuers on boats cut the plane open to gain access, attempting to access passengers reportedly trapped in the front section of the fuselage.

Television footage showed passengers swimming clear of the wreckage, with reports suggesting 15 people had survived the crash and a further 24 were missing.

TransAsia said in a statement that one passenger had already been discharged from hospital but did not confirm the number of survivors.

The ATR-72 turbo-prop plane had just taken off from Taipei Songshan Airport and was heading to the Kinmen islands, just off the coast of the south-eastern Chinese city of Xiamen.

The final communication from the pilots to air traffic control was “Mayday, mayday, engine flame out”, according to a recording played on local media. The recording was not immediately verified by aviation officials.

Flight controllers lost contact with the plane at 10:55 a.m. local time. Footage of the plane filmed from inside passing cars showed it banking sharply, hitting a taxi and clipping the bridge before crashing into the river. Reports on the number of dead varied, with many citing numbers higher than the 16 confirmed by TransAsia. Last July, another TransAsia plane crashed in bad weather, killing 48 people.

The plane was carrying five crew and 53 passengers, including 31 tourists from the south-eastern Chinese city of Xiamen.