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Plane crashes in Taiwan, 47 trapped, feared dead

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) -- A plane landing in stormy weather crashed outside an airport on a small Taiwanese island late Wednesday, and the transport minister said 47 people were trapped and feared dead.

Another 11 people were injured when the ATR-72 operated by Taiwan's TransAsia Airways crashed on Penghu, an island in the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and China, Transport Minister Yeh Kuang-shih was quoted as saying by the government's Central News Agency. The plane was arriving from Kaohsiung, a city in southern Taiwan.

The twin-engine turboprop plane crashed while making a second landing attempt with a total of 58 passengers and crew members aboard, according to Yeh.

President Ma Ying-jeou called it "a very sad day in the history of Taiwanese aviation" and ordered authorities to quickly clarify the details, said a spokesman for his office, Ma Wei-kuo, the news agency reported.

The plane crashed in the village of Xixi outside the airport. Photos in local media showed firefighters using flashlights to look at wreckage in the darkness, and buildings and cars damaged by debris.

About 200 military personnel were sent to help recover the people who were on the plane, Taiwanese Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Luo Shou-he said, according to the Central News Agency.

The ministry said military vehicles and ambulances were rushing people to hospitals and an air force rescue team was on standby to transfer survivors to Taiwan's main island if needed for treatment, the agency reported.

The flight left Kaohsiung at 4:53 p.m. for Magong on Penghu, according to the head of Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration, Jean Shen. The plane lost contact with the tower at 7:06 p.m. after saying it would make a second landing attempt.

Visibility as the plane approached was 1,600 meters (one mile), which met standards for landing, and two flights had landed before GE222, one at 5:34 p.m. and the other at 6:57 p.m., the aviation agency reported. Shen said the plane was 14 years old.

But the Central News Agency, citing the county fire department, said it appeared heavy rain reduced visibility and the pilot was forced to pull up and make the second landing attempt. The news agency had earlier quoted a local fire chief as saying 51 people had been killed.

Taiwan was battered by Typhoon Matmo overnight Tuesday, and the Central Weather Bureau warned of heavy rain Wednesday evening, even after the center of the storm had moved west to mainland China.

TransAsia Airways' general manager, Hsu Yi-Tsung, bowed deeply before reporters and tearfully apologized for the accident, the Central News Agency said.

Hsu said the carrier was arranging to take the relatives of passengers on the flight to Magong on Thursday morning and that it would spare no effort in the rescue and in handling the aftermath, the report said.

Taiwan's last major aviation disaster also was near Penghu. A China Airlines Boeing 747 broke apart in midair in 2002 and crashed into the Taiwan Strait, killing all 225 people aboard.

In October 2013, a Lao Airlines ATR-72 crashed during a heavy storm as it approached Pakse Airport in southern Laos, killing all 49 people on board.

At Least 47 Dead in Taiwan Plane Crash

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Terri July 23 2014 at 2:54 PM

I swear there's a lot of weird people here in this discussion room. Just plain weird.

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4 replies
ray13666 July 23 2014 at 1:48 PM

Time for airliners to be banned because they cause deaths - more so than guns. So let the ban begin, especially in Asia.

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5 replies
Paul July 23 2014 at 12:20 PM

There is no guaranty in life. People die in car accidents daily a lot more than from flying on plains. May all RIP

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3 replies
gnv978 July 23 2014 at 3:14 PM

The world is becoming more sad than happy. It is very depressing.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
3 replies
Velocity105 July 23 2014 at 1:00 PM

Not a good month to jet around on vacation.

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2 replies
onionson Velocity105 July 23 2014 at 1:35 PM

It is a propeller plane Bozo.

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2 replies
MICHELLE onionson July 23 2014 at 2:58 PM

It's an expression, Bozo.

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Christopher onionson July 23 2014 at 4:55 PM

leave it to a liberal piece of crap to point out its a propeller plane

Flag 0 rate up
barryaclarke Velocity105 July 23 2014 at 4:58 PM

Hello onionson: It's a turbo jet which is a jet with a prop. Anyway, "jet around" is slang. You need to lighten up a bit..........."BOZO"

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eleanoreln July 23 2014 at 4:17 PM

God bless them and their famlies

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1 reply
Christopher eleanoreln July 23 2014 at 4:55 PM

shhhh . don't let a democrat hear you say that . you will be banished from the earth

Flag Reply 0 rate up
dojologa July 23 2014 at 9:24 PM

I heard Obama and Biden are planning a BILL to OUTLAW PLANES- didnt work for gund but Joe said- "I rekon it might a work on these here Plands B O " thats Barak Obama - not the smell I think!

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Richard July 23 2014 at 3:56 PM

Seems that there is something going on behind the scenes about this recent rash of Asian aircraft incidents that we are not being told. Makes one wonder what is brewing.

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3 replies
djchavez2020 July 23 2014 at 3:08 PM

I have often wondered if Asia pilots are trained as well as our pilots of whom a lot are ex-military pilots who served in the Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, especially the Navy pilots who land and take off on aircraft carriers et. Those pilots of that Asian airline that tried to land to short of the run way in San Francisco, was going to fast and their auto pilot switch was till ON. They might lack additional training and a lot more experience with senior pilots, especially in serve weather conditions.

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5 replies
moonsun2011 July 23 2014 at 2:57 PM

when moon is red that means there will be blood on earth. Many people will die.
Mysterious signs moon gives ahead of time.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
Carol moonsun2011 July 23 2014 at 4:06 PM

moonsun - Get outta here! What about when the moon is yellow? Lots of bedwetting?

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1 reply
Christopher Carol July 23 2014 at 4:58 PM


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