Rescue crews are continuing their search for survivors in the wreckage of a TransAsia Airways flight that crashed at a Taiwan airport on Wednesday while attempting to land in stormy weather.
TransAsia Flight GE222 was carrying 54 passengers and four crew members. Taiwan’s Transportation Ministry said Wednesday night that 47 of those people were killed in the accident and 11 were injured. Several residential buildings near the crash site were also damaged. But none of the occupants of the buildings were injured, officials said.
China's current affairs magazine Caijing is reporting on its website that that rescue workers are using equipment to break through the wreckage to look for any survivors. Channel News Asia added that fire crews at the scene had to battle heavy rains and poor lighting as they worked to put out the flames at the crash site. The crews were reportedly unable to gain entry to the plane’s interior until the fire had been put out.
News Asia also reports that Taiwan Transport Minister Yeh Kuang-shih said one of the plane's black boxes may have been recovered from the site.
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Flight GE222 was traveling from Kaohsiung International Airport to Magong Airport in Magong City, Taiwan. The plane had difficulty landing due to stormy weather caused by the remnants of a typhoon hitting the region and requested clearance for a go-around. The crash happened as the plane attempted its second landing and lost contact with air traffic control.
The 70-seat aircraft came down near the airport’s runway and caught fire, officials and witnesses say. Emergency crews arrived on the scene to assist the injured on the flight as well as those in the buildings damaged by the plane.
"From the crash site we sent 11 people to hospital with injuries. A few empty apartment buildings adjacent to the runway caught fire, but no one was inside at the time and the fire was extinguished," said Hsi Wen-guang, a spokesman for the Penghu County Government Fire Bureau.
An official with the Civil Aeronautics Administration added that air traffic control reported that the weather conditions when the crash occurred met international landing regulations.
According to the New York Times, Flight GE222 was scheduled to leave at 4 p.m. but was later delayed due to the weather. It departed Kaohsiung at 5:42 p.m. for Magong, a trip of 35 minutes.
Jean Shen, director-general of the Civil Aeronautics Administration, said the turboprop ATR 72 was 14 years old. A meeting has been called by the Aviation Safety Council to investigate the cause of the crash.