[VIDEO] Captured by Dash Cam: TransAsia Plane Crashes Into River in TaiwanPosted: February 4, 2015
More Than Two Dozen People Killed as Carrier Loses Second Aircraft in Seven Months; Black-Box Recorders Located
TAIPEI— Jenny W. Hsu ,Fanny Liu and Aries Poon reporting: Rescue workers continued with their search efforts late Wednesday using lights erected over the Keelung River, seeking missing passengers of TransAsia Flight 235, which crashed shortly after takeoff in Taiwan’s second deadly air accident in seven months.
Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration said late Wednesday that 25 people were dead, including at least two male Chinese nationals, and 16 people were injured. The plane was carrying 53 passengers and five cabin crew.
The authority said the control tower lost communication with the pilots four minutes after the takeoff from Taipei’s Songshan Airport en route to Kinmen, an outlying island near China’s mainland, around 10:53 a.m. local time. Many of the passengers were Chinese tourists from the province next to Kinmen.
The black box recorder has been located and authorities have begun the decoding process. The Aviation Safety Council, which is in charge of the investigation, declined to give an estimated time of when an initial report will be released. In the past, a preliminary analysis from the recorder has taken anywhere from days to weeks.
Dramatic images taken by drivers with dashboard cameras of the plane, a low-flying ATR-72 turboprop, as it clipped an overpass before plunging into a river were ubiquitous on social-media websites within hours of the crash, sparking heated discussions and messages of condolence.
The crash adds to fears about air safety in Asia following several aviation disasters in the region in 2014.
The most recent had been the crash of AirAsia Flight 8501, which went down in the Java Sea on Dec. 28 after taking off from Surabaya, Indonesia, on its way to Singapore, killing all 158 people on board. Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of that crash. Last year also saw the still-unsolved disappearance in March of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which carried 239 people when it veered thousands of miles off course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Authorities are still searching for that missing plane in two broad areas of the Indian Ocean. The region was also devastated by the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine in July, in territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
Air traffic in Asia has increased rapidly in recent years, making it the world’s biggest aviation market, but the growth has been a struggle for some safety regulators, airlines and governments. Over the past five years, the number of passengers carried annually in the Asia-Pacific region has jumped by two-thirds to more than 1 billion, surpassing Europe and North America and accounting for 33% of the global total in 2013.
The fast expansion of aircraft fleets and the strain on pilot training systems have added to potential safety risk. Since 2010, Asian carriers have been involved in four of the five events with the most fatalities, according to the independent Aviation Safety Network.
Cranes were dispatched to the crash site in an attempt to lift the plane body and debris from the river. Rescue workers also used rubber dinghies to carry the survivors and bodies to the shore…(read more)
—Robert Wall in London and Colum Murphy in Shanghai contributed to this article.
Write to Aries Poon at firstname.lastname@example.org
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