Black boxes found in Taiwan air crash

Written By komlim puldel on Rabu, 04 Februari 2015 | 20.01

This extreme close-up shows a TransAsia Airways aircraft crashing into the Keelung River in New Taipei City, Taiwan. Credit: Channel NewsAsia Singapore.

Rescue operation underway ... The TransAsia Airways plane lies partly submerged in the Keelung River in New Taipei City. Picture: New Taipei City Fire Department Source: Supplied

A PASSENGER plane with 58 people on board plunged into a river after clipping a road bridge outside Taiwan's capital, with 27 people rescued so far, leaving others unaccounted for.

The number of fatalities are unclear, but the Taiwanese Civil Aviation Authority said in a press conference that there were nine confirmed deaths, 18 people were injured, and 31 people who were unaccounted for.

Local media has since reported that up to 19 are dead, but according to China's state broadcaster CCTV, the death toll has risen to 21.

The flight recorders have been recovered from the wreckage of the plane, which will help determine what caused the plane to crash, Channel News Asia reports.

There were five crew members and two passengers were children.

The TransAsia ATR 72-600 turboprop plane was on a domestic flight when it hit a road bridge before ploughing into the Keelung River in New Taipei City, Taiwan.

Lives lost ... the latest TransAsia Air plane crash in Taipei. Picture: Taiwan's CTI News/Twitter Source: Supplied

CNA said the flight from Taipei to the outlying island of Kinmen lost contact with flight controllers at 10.55am local time.

At least 170 emergency staff have been deployed - including ambulances, fire engines and watercraft - to assist in the rescue operation.

Rescuers are still at the crash site working recover the bodies of trapped passengers and parts of the wreckage.

Fatalities rise ... rescue personnel work to free passengers from a TransAsia ATR 72-600 turboprop plane that crash-landed into a river outside Taiwan's capital Taipei. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

Television images showed rescuers standing on large sections of broken wreckage trying to pull passengers out of the plane with ropes. Those who were rescued — including two children -- were put in dinghies and taken to the shore.

Some were then loaded on stretchers and all 27 rescued have been taken to hospital, reports said.

Survivors ... passengers from the TransAsia ATR 72-600 turboprop plane. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

Local media have also released the names of those on board.

The plane was being flown by Liao Jianzong and Liu Zizhong, and a third trainee pilot called Hong Binzhong.

he pilot flying the plane had nearly 5,000 hours of flight experience. His co-pilot had nearly 7,000 hours.

As many as 31 passengers were tourists from mainland China, Taiwan's TVBS news broadcaster said.

Some 16 of the Chinese passengers were with the Teyung Group, and the remainder with Flying Tours.

Passengers on board the plane were from Taiwan and China.

Wu Jun-hong, a Taipei Fire Department official who was coordinating the rescue, said the victims were among 27 people pulled from the plane. The remaining people were unaccounted for, and were either were still in the fuselage or had been pulled downriver, he said.

An injured passenger ... is escorted by emergency personnel up the river bank. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

"At the moment, things don't look too optimistic," Wu told reporters at the scene.

"Those in the front of the plane are likely to have lost their lives."

Rescuers were pulling luggage from an open plane door to clear the fuselage, and Wu said they planned to build a pontoon bridge to facilitate those efforts.

Waiting for help .. passengers in the Transasia Air plane crash. Picture: Taiwan's CTI News/Twitter Source: Supplied

Parts of the wrecked fuselage of the turboprop ATR 72 jutted out of the Keelung River just a couple dozen metres from the shore near the city's downtown Sungshan airport.

The main section of fuselage was on its side, missing a wing.

Rescuers clustered around the plane in rubber boats more than two hours after the crash, and could be seen pulling carry-on luggage from an open plane door.

Wreckage found ... a rescue crew carries a window from a TransAsia Airways ATR 72-600 turboprop airplane that crashed. Picture: Ashley Pon/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Moving the injured ... a rescue crew carries a passenger from a TransAsia Airways ATR 72-600 turboprop airplane. Picture: Ashley Pon/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Rescuing survivors ... a passenger from a TransAsia ATR 72-600 turboprop plane that crash-landed into a river outside Taiwan's capital Taipei on a stretcher. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

Since the crash, terrifiying images have also emerged of how the plane went off course before it hit the bridge and then crashed into the river.

Terrifying images ... A montage of dashboard cam images showing the moments before the TransAsia Airways plane crash in New Taipei City. Source: Missxoxo168 / Twitter Source: Twitter

Taiwanese TV stations continue to broadcast live footage of rescue workers in life vests and yellow helmets surrounding the plane's partially-submerged fuselage in inflatable rafts.

The chief executive of TransAsia, Chen Xinde, has publicly apologised for the crash.

Appearing at a televised news conference he bowed and offered his "deep apology" to the passengers and crew, Reuters reports.

A RESCUE operation is underway for passengers trapped after a TransAsia Airways plane, with 58 people on board, crashed and sunk. Credit: TVBS.

The plane's wing also hit a taxi, the driver of which was injured, on the freeway just before it crashed into the river, Taiwanese broadcaster TVBS reported.

The driver survived the incident and was taken to hospital for further medical treatment.

Hong Shiqi, head of medicine at the hospital, said the driver, who was named only as Mr Zhou, had recounted feeling "very scared". When he woke up, he felt severe pain in his eyes.

Mr Zhou has a history of heart problems and is being kept in the hospital for observation.

Close call ... a taxi was clipped by the plane as it crashed. Picture: TVBS/YouTube Source: Supplied

On the scene ... rescue personnel put an injured passenger into an ambulance. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

A TransAsia media office declined comment on possible reasons for the crash. Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration also was also unable to discuss possible causes of the crash.

The New Taipei City Fire Department has dispatched five rescue teams, equipped with speed boats, to the accident site near the Nanyang Bridge in Xizhi district, CNA said.

The aeroplane was flying to the offshore island of Kinmen and had only just left Taipei Songshan Airport when the accident happened.

The crash site ... rescue teams work to free people from a TransAsia Airways ATR 72-600 turboprop airplane that crashed into the Keelung River. Picture: Ashley Pon/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

TransAsia Airways was involved in another fatal crash less than a year ago, while attempting to land at Magong Airport on July 23. Forty-seven of the 58 people on board the ATR-72-500 were killed, and seven seriously injured when the plane crashed at the end of the runway and slid into residential buildings.

Prior to that, the Taiwan based airline was involved in a runway collision with a truck in March 2003. All 175 passengers and crew survived the incident at Tainan Airport when the truck trespassed the tarmac into the path of the A320.

An injured passenger ... stretchered by emergency personnel along the river bank. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

In December 2002, a cargo flight operated by TransAsia crashed killing the two crew when severe icing disabled the main components of the ATR-72-200.

Owned by Goldsun Constructions and Development in Taiwan, TransAsia has a fleet of 23 aircraft and flies to 33 domestic and international destinations.

The airline has been operating as a commercial carrier since 1951. The company is currently owned by Golden Development & Construction Co Ltd.

Chinese authorities have set up a hotline for families concerned their relatives may have been on the plane, which is 0592-7227777 from mainland China.

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