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Taiwan passenger plane crash-lands in river

Plane hits a road bridge and crashes, killing nine people, as rescuers try to reach dozens of trapped passengers

 

 

A passenger plane with 58 people on board has plunged into a river outside the Taiwanese capital Taipei, killing nine people, according to national media reports.

About 16 people were rescued, but dozens were still trapped inside, reports said.

The TransAsia ATR 72-600 turboprop plane was on a domestic flight when it hit a road bridge before crashing into the river, the reports said. Rescuers were trying to reach the trapped passengers, they said.

Television footage showed passengers wearing life jackets wading and swimming clear of the river.

Emergency rescue officials in inflatable boats crowded around the partially submerged fuselage, lying on its side in the river, trying to help those on board.

The civilian aeronautic authority said soon after the crash that two people had been killed. Taiwanese television later reported the death toll had risen to nine.

The aeronautic authority reported 16 people had been rescued, meaning as many as 33 people were still missing, according to the Reuters news agency.

Other Taiwanese government authorities said the plane was carrying 58 passengers and crew, including 31 tourists from mainland China, the agency said.

The weather appeared to be clear when the plane took off. Television pictures also showed some damage to a bridge next to the river, with small pieces of the aircraft scattered along the road.

The crash-landing is the latest in a string of mishaps to hit Asian carriers in the past 12 months. An AirAsia jet bound for Singapore crashed soon after taking off from the Indonesian city of Surabaya on December 28, killing all 162 people on board.

Also last year, a Malaysia Airlines jet disappeared and one of its sister planes was downed over Ukraine with a combined loss of 539 lives.

TransAsia is Taiwan’s third-largest carrier. One of its ATR 72-500 planes crashed while trying to land at Penghu Island last year, killing 48 of the 58 passengers and crew on board.

The plane involved in Wednesday’s mishap was among the first of the ATR 72-600s, the latest variant of the turboprop aircraft, that TransAsia received in 2014.

They are among an order of eight placed by TransAsia in 2012. The aircraft have 72 seats each. The planes are mainly used to connect Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, to the island’s smaller cities.

Source: Agencies