Dozens killed as plane crashes on second landing bid
A plane attempting to land in stormy weather crashed on a small Taiwanese island yesterday, killing 47 people and wrecking houses and cars on the ground.
The ATR-72 operated by Taiwan's TransAsia Airways was carrying 58 passengers and crew when it crashed on Penghu in the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and China, authorities said.
Two people aboard the plane were French citizens and the rest Taiwanese, Transport Minister Yeh Kuang-shih said. The twin-engine turboprop crashed while making a second landing attempt.
The crash of flight GE222 was Taiwan's first fatal air accident in 12 years and came after Typhoon Matmo passed across the island, causing heavy rains. Some 200 airline flights had been cancelled due to rain and strong winds.
The official death toll was 47, according to Wen Chia-hung, spokesman for the Penghu disaster response centre. He said the 11 other people were injured.
Authorities were looking for one person who might have been in a house that was struck by wreckage. A car was crushed by a toppled wall but there was no one in it.
President Ma Ying-jeou called it "a very sad day in the history of Taiwanese aviation", according to a spokesman for his office.
The plane came down in the village of Xixi outside the airport. Television stations showed rescue workers pulling bodies from wreckage. Photos in local media showed firefighters using flashlights to look through the wreckage, and buildings damaged by debris.