Rescue personnel survey the wreckage of TransAsia Airways
flight GE222 on Taiwan's offshore island of Penghu. Photo
A TransAsia Airways turboprop plane crashed on its second
attempt at landing during a thunderstorm on an island off
Taiwan, killing 47 people and setting buildings on fire.
The plane, a 70-seat ATR 72, crashed near the runway on the
island of Penghu, west of the mainland, with 54 passengers
and four crew on board, they said. No one was killed or hurt
in the buildings.
Eleven injured people on the plane were taken to hospital,
the government said.
The aircraft took off from Taiwan's southern city of
Kaohsiung, headed for the island of Makong, but crash-landed
in Huxi township of Penghu County, the main island of the
chain also known as the Pescadores.
"It was thunderstorm conditions during the crash," said Hsi
Wen-guang, a spokesman for the Penghu County Government Fire
"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."
About 100 firefighters were sent to the scene, as well as 152
military personnel and 255 police, he added.
According to an official at the Civil Aeronautics
Administration, air traffic control reported that the
inclement weather at the time of the crash did not exceed
international regulations for landing.
Visibility was 1600 metres and the cloud cover was as low as
600 metres, added the official, who declined to be
Television networks aired footage of TransAsia's president,
Chooi Yee-choong, bowing in apology.
"We express our deepest apologies to everyone for this
Typhoon Matmo hit Taiwan on Wednesday (local time), bringing
heavy rain and strong winds, shutting financial markets and
schools. It passed the island and headed into China,
downgraded from typhoon to tropical storm.
TransAsia Airways is a Taiwan-based airline with a fleet of
around 23 Airbus and ATR aircraft, operating chiefly
short-haul flights on domestic routes as well as to mainland
China, Japan, Thailand and Cambodia, among its Asian