A TransAsia Airways plane ATR-72 crashed into a shallow river in Taiwan, shortly after takeoff from Taiwan’s Capital, with initial reports indicating that up to 28 people had died; 15 injured and 15 still missing. Part of the ordeal was captured on tape before the plane clipped a highway bridge careening into a shallow river.
Most of the passengers onboard the TransAsia Airways Flight GE235 were from China with reports also indicating that the death toll could rise as hours continue to pass. Rescue teams in rubber rafts are already on the scene trying to see if they can rescue anyone from the wreckage. The missing passengers according to Taipei Fire Department might have been trapped inside the fuselage or pulled down the river.
One of the videos taken shows the plane rapidly swerving with its wing scrapping the road hitting a car on the bridge in the process before dropping into the river. The plane had initially hit a taxi on the freeway injuring both passenger and driver.
The pilot is reported to have tried to turn sharply to avoid hitting a nearby residential area and follow the river, before coming to an abrupt halt in the river. Taiwan Aviation Authority has however not validated the claims.
The flight had taken off from China’s downtown Sungshan Airport heading towards the Kinmen islands in Taiwan. The country’s aviation authority has indicated that the pilot did indeed issue a mayday call, shortly after takeoff. The plane had lost contact with the control tower four minutes after takeoff according to the airlines Director, Peter Chen.
The cause of the accident remains unknown considering the airplane had taken off from suitable flying weather conditions. Questions are already being asked about the airplane, considering it is new and having been in on operations for barely a year.
The crashed plane was manufactured by a French-Italian consortium based in France with the pilot reported to having had 4,900 hours of flying experience.