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Taiwan Plane Crashes In Emergency Airport Landing, Killing Dozens

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TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A plane landing in stormy weather crashed outside an airport on a small Taiwanese island late Wednesday, and a transport minister said 47 people were trapped and feared dead.

Taiwan's Transport Minister Yeh Kuang-shih was quoted by the government's Central News Agency as saying another 11 people were injured after the plane crashed and caught fire while making a second landing attempt.

The agency had earlier reported, citing a local fire brigade chief, that 51 people had been killed.

Flight GE222, an ATR-72 aircraft operated by Taiwanese airline TransAsia Airways, was heading from the southern port city of Kaohsiung to the island Penghu, halfway between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan in the Taiwan Strait, according to the Taiwanese news agency.

It crashed outside the airport in Xixi village, and pictures showed in local media showed a handful of firefighters using flashlights to look at wreckage in the darkness.

Penghu is a lightly populated island that averages about two flights a day from Taipei.

Yeh, the transport minister, was quoted as saying the flight carried 58 passengers and crew members.

Taiwan was battered by Typhoon Matmo early Tuesday morning, and the Central Weather Bureau was advising of heavy rain through the evening, even though the centre of the storm was in mainland China.

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A relative of a passenger on the Taiwan domestic TransAsia Airways flight GE222 that crashed on the Taiwan island of Penghu reacts at the flight's departure airport in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, late Wednesday, July 23, 2014. (AP Photo)

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Today 1:26 PM EDT
TransAsia Apologizes

TransAsia Airways issued an apology over the deadly crash, Focus Taiwan reports:

Speaking to reporters on a live press conference, a spokesman for the local airline got choked up and bowed in "apology for the unfortunate incident."

Chooi Yee-choong, the spokesman, said the airline will provide assistance to the families of the victims.

Read more here.

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rescue workers survey the wreckage of transasia ai

Rescue workers survey the wreckage of TransAsia Airways flight GE222 which crashed while attempting to land in stormy weather on the Taiwanese island of Penghu, late Wednesday, July 23, 2014. A transport minister said dozens of people were trapped and feared dead. (AP Photo/Wong Yao-wen)

transasia airways flight ge222

Rescue workers work next to the wreckage of TransAsia Airways flight GE222 which crashed while attempting to land in stormy weather on the Taiwanese island of Penghu, late Wednesday, July 23, 2014. A plane landing in stormy weather crashed outside an airport on a small Taiwanese island late Wednesday, and a transport minister said dozens of people were trapped and feared dead. (AP Photo/Wong Yao-wen)

penghu

Seen in a raining downpour, a vehicle is covered in rubble from the wreckage from a Taiwan domestic airline that crashed while attempting to land in typhoon weather on the Taiwan island of Penghu, 150 kilometers, (93 miles), off Taiwan in the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and mainland China, late Wednesday, July 23, 2014. Local officials say the domestic airline carrier Trans Asia flight GE 222 crashed on landing with many people feared dead and some injured. (AP Photo/Wong Yao-wen)

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Yeh Kuang-shih is en route to Penghu, the island near Taiwan where the TransAsia Airways flight crashed during an emergency landing.

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Today 11:51 AM EDT
Black Box Recovered?

A Taiwanese official said that at least one of the plane's black boxes has been recovered, Channel NewsAsia reported.

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A Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over Ukraine last week, killing nearly 300 people on board. Months earlier, a Malaysia Airlines plane went missing on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

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A spokesman for TransAsia Airways broke down crying on live TV while apologizing for the incident, The Wire reported. The airline said on Wednesday that it will conduct a full investigation into the incident.

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This map shows the exact spot where the TransAsia Airways plane crashed during an emergency landing.

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The Wall Street Journal reports:

According to Civil Aeronautic Administration, the aircraft was a ATR 72 short-haul regional airliner and had been in commission for 14 years. The flight was originally scheduled to take off at 4 p.m. but was asked to stay grounded until 5:43 p.m. due to inclement weather caused by typhoon Matmo.

According to the CAA, the aircraft experienced technical failure and was unable to land properly. After panning in the air for a while, the plane was forced to make an emergency landing at Xihu Village in Penghu.

Read more here.

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There is some confusion about the number of people who were killed in Wednesday's crash. According to Focus Taiwan, 47 people were killed in the plane crash. Earlier reports said 51 people were killed.

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A video posted by Apple Daily Taiwan and verified by Storyful shows the neighborhood in Penghu, Taiwan where the plane crashed:

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State news channel Focus Taiwan reports:

Taipei, July 23 (CNA) The status of the 54 passengers and four crew members aboard Wednesday's TransAsia Airways Flight 222 remained unclear hours after the ATR 72 crashed in a botched emergency landing in Penghu, according to Jean Shen, director-general of the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA).

Flight GE 222 requested a go-around when it tried to land at Magong airport at 7:06 p.m. in inclement weather, but "lost contact" with the tower, Shen said during a press meeting.

Read more here.

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Taiwan TV station TVBS has multiple photos of the crash aftermath that can be seen here.

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China's state news agency reports:

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Anthony De Rosa, Editor-In-Chief of news app Circa, reports on Twitter:

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