Saturday 27 December 2014

Taiwan firefighters pick through debris

Diane Raynor

Published 25/07/2014 | 02:30

A special investigator inspects the tail wing of crashed TransAsia Airways flight GE222 on the outlying island of Penghu, Taiwan, Thursday, July 24, 2014. Stormy weather on the trailing edge of Typhoon Matmo was the likely cause of the plane crash that killed more than 40 people, the airline said Thursday. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
A special investigator inspects the tail wing of crashed TransAsia Airways flight GE222 on the outlying island of Penghu, Taiwan. Stormy weather on the trailing edge of Typhoon Matmo was the likely cause of the plane crash that killed more than 40 people, the airline said. AP
Relatives of passengers onboard the Transasia Airways plane that crashed gesture in front of photographs of the deceased at a funeral parlor on Taiwan's offshore island of Penghu. Reuters
Emergency workers remove the wreckage of crashed TransAsia Airways flight GE222 on the outlying island of Penghu, Taiwan. AP
A forensic team recovers human remains among the wreckage of crashed TransAsia Airways flight GE222 on the outlying island of Penghu, Taiwan. AP

Firefighters uncovered ID cards and body fragments as they picked through wreckage yesterday for evidence to identify the victims of a plane crash that killed 48 people on a Taiwanese island.

Hydraulic cranes, meanwhile, lifted twisted chunks of the aircraft from a narrow alley in a village to help about 100 criminal investigators, police and soldiers sort through the rubble for clues on what caused the ATR-72 to crash in stormy weather late on Wednesday.

The plane, operated by Taiwan's TransAsia Airways, was carrying 58 passengers when it crashed while trying to land in the scenic Penghu archipelago in the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and China.

Identifying bodies that had been dug out of the wreckage overnight was the top priority, a disaster response official said.

Family members of the dead were flown in to identify their loved ones.

"The biggest challenge was that the street was too narrow and so we had a hard time finding people's identities," said Huang Hsih, a disaster official. TransAsia said the plane, which flew from the city of Kaoh-siung in southern Taiwan, may have crashed because of the stormy weather trailing behind a typhoon.

That raises questions about why aviation authorities let flights resume on Wednesday afternoon following some 200 cancellations earlier in the day.

Irish Independent

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