12 Missing from Taiwan Plane Crash


Authorities in Taiwan have confirmed they are still searching for 12 people who remain unaccounted for after the plane crash in a river yesterday.  31 people are known to have died when the TransAsia ATR-72 crashed into the Keelung River in Taipei while 15 survivors were pulled from the wreckage, including a boy of just two years old.

The aviation regulator of the country has ordered all ATR planes to have special checks conducted after the crash.  Most of those on board were Chinese tourists and the Chinese authorities are expected to take part in the crash investigation.


The death toll is expected to rise as the missing passengers are sought in the river.  Liu Yung-chou, from the national fire agency who are leading the operation, said that there is a team of 60 divers going into the river to search for the missing.  This is in addition to around 20 boats already on the river as part of the search.

The ATR-72 prop plane had taken off from Taipei’s Songshan Airport and was heading to the Kinmen Islands, just off the south-eastern Chinese coats near Xiamen.  Dramatic footage was captured showing the plane clipping a bridge as it crashed just after the take off.

The last communication received from the pilot had been a mayday call that the engine flamed out, according to reports in local media.  This has yet to be verified by aviation officials.

Most of the aircraft ended up under water, having broken up into several pieces.  Rescue teams reached survivors with dinghies but many of those who were on the plane were trapped inside the sunken wreckage.  Overnight, rescue crews were joined by a crane that lifted the sunken fuselage from the river.


According to reports from the scene, the divers began covering an area of several kilometres downstream from the crash site searching for the missing people and wreckage but the underwater visibility is very poor.  Hopes are not high that any of the 12 missing will be found alive.

Among the survivors was one man, his wife and their two-year-old son.  Lin Ming-wei was sitting beside the spot where the fuselage broken apart, according to the Central News Agency (CNA) in Taiwan.  He reacted quickly to get out of his seat and get his wife through the opening where he found his son in the water.  The boy was resuscitated and both are recovering in hospital.


TransAsia is a Taiwan-based carrier that operates around the country as well as on some international routes.  Its director, Peter Chen, said that so far the cause of the accident was unknown.  The plane was the newest model and hadn’t been in service for a year.  The black boxes or flight data recorders have been recovered.

ATR is a French-Italian manufacturer and two French aviation investigators along with four from ATR are flying out to Taiwan to help with the investigation.  A TransAsia flight crashed last year in Penghu due to bad weather, killing 48 people while the carrier also had fatal crashes in 1995 and 2002.


Related posts: