At Least 23 Dead After TransAsia Plane Crashes in Taiwan

The plane went down shortly after takeoff, narrowly missing apartment buildings before crashing in a river

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Photo: Amvid/Reuters TV/Landov

A TransAsia plane crashed into a river in Taiwan on Wednesday, killing at least 23 people.

The plane, which was carrying 58 people, went down shortly after takeoff, turning on its side and clipping a bridge before finally crashing into the shallow Keelung River, according to the BBC.

Television reports suggest that 15 people survived, but two dozen remain missing.

Emergency officials are still working to free the passengers who are reportedly trapped in the front section of the aircraft.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” a volunteer rescuer told Reuters.

The last communication from the pilot was “Mayday Mayday engine flameout,” according to an air traffic control recording on liveatc.net. Flight controllers lost contact with the plane at 10:55 a.m. local time.

TransAsia director Peter Chen said in a news conference that the cause of the crash is not known.

“This aircraft in the accident was the newest model. It hadn’t been used for even a year,” he said, adding that weather conditions were suitable for flying as well.

A video of the crash shared on Facebook shows the plane narrowly missing apartment buildings before landing in the river.

Some reports have suggested that the pilot intentionally aimed for the river when he realized the plane was going down, though that has not been confirmed.

“I saw a taxi, probably just meters ahead of me, being hit by one wing of the plane,” an eyewitness said, according to the BBC.

“The plane was huge and really close to me. I’m still trembling.”

Another TransAsia plane crashed in Taiwan last July, killing 48 people.

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