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23 dead, 20 missing in plane crash: fire fighters (update)

23 dead, 20 missing in plane crash: fire fighters (update)

Taipei, Feb. 4 (CNA) Twenty-three of the 58 people aboard TransAsia Airways flight 235 that crashed into a river in Taipei Wednesday before noon have been confirmed dead after day-long extensive rescue efforts, according to the capital's fire department as of 6:45 p.m. Another 20 people who were aboard the ATR-72 turbo-prop plane, which had just taken off for the outlying islands of Kinmen when it crashed, were unaccounted for, the Taipei City Fire Department said. The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) however reported 19 dead and 24 unaccounted for as of 5:30 p.m. Fifteen injured survivors included three Chinese citizens while the remainder were Taiwanese, the CAA said. The fire department said that cranes were on the scene and the plane was expected to be pulled out of the Keelung River before 8 p.m. The aircraft, which was five crew members and 53 passengers, including 31 Chinese tourists, crashed shortly after taking off from Taipei's Songshan Airport at 10:52 a.m. en route to Kinmen. The cause of crash was still unknown.
Nearly 1,000 police, firefighters and military personnel joined rescue efforts Wednesday, the fire department said. Acting department head Wu Chun-hung (???) said that because the nose of the plane plunged into the Keelung River and burrowed into the riverbed, the department believed that many passengers had been trapped in the plane's fuselage. Wu had said getting to those people was difficult because of the severe deformation of the front and inside of the plane caused by the impact. Four hundred military personnel contributed to the rescue efforts, and special forces were diving into the river to look for survivors. The Army's Sixth Corps Command said it had deployed two M3 amphibious floating bridges to assist with rescue efforts. The Aviation Security Council said the plane's two black boxes -- its flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder -- were retrieved at around 4 p.m. after the tide receded and were to be analyzed later in the evening.
Senior executives at TransAsia Airways bowed in apology at a news conference, but they did not comment on what caused it. It is the second crash in half a year for TransAsia. Another ATR-72 carrying 58 people crashed last July in the outlying island county of Penghu with only nine survivors. (By Liu Chien-pang and Lilian Wu)


Updated : 2021-09-26 22:02 GMT+08:00