Photo shows nearby of the airport in Taiwan’s Penghu County where a TransAsia Airways plane caught fire; 51 died pic.twitter.com/nvZWKQuMGY
A TransAsia Airways (復興航空) crashed on Wednesday 23 in Huxi Township, Penghu County, Taiwan. The plane number GE 222 was scheduled to leave Kaohsiung Airport (高雄國際機場) at 16:00 and arrive at Magong Airport (馬公機場), in Penghu, at 16:35. According to a statement released by the airline yesterday (23rd) evening, because of bad weather conditions due to typhoon Matmo the departure was delayed and the plane was scheduled to land at Magong at 18:30. Heavy rain was still falling by the time the plane reached Penghu.
According to Apple Daily, during landing the plane encountered unspecified difficulties. The control tower lost communication with the aircraft, which disappeared from the radar. The plane attempted an emergency landing, but crashed on two buildings and caught fire. Magong Airport was temporarily closed, 6 scheduled flights were cancelled.
58 people were on board the plane, including the crew. The plane crashed at about 19:00 local time in Xixi (西溪), a small town near the airport. So far, 48 people have been confirmed dead, while 10 others have suffered severe injuries. Also 10 local residents have been injured during he accident.
Yesterday the Minister of Health and Welfare Qiu Wenda (邱文達) attended a meeting of the Central Emergency Operation Centre. He stated that everything will be done to help the victims. According to the Ministry’s information 11 people have been taken to hospital for treatment. 7 people are currently treated at Penghu Military Hospital, 4 of whom are in serious conditions. Other 4 people are treated at Penghu Hospital, two of whom are in serious conditions. Due to shortage of blood in the hospitals, the authorities have appealed to citizens and soldiers to donate blood.
Yesterday at around 22:00 local time the mayor of Kaohsiung, Chen Ju (陳菊), went to Kaoshiung Airport and talked with relatives of the victims. She criticised the way in which TransAsia Airways handled the aftermath of the accident, saying that it did not contact the families of the passengers to inform them about what had happened. Many of them learnt of the tragedy while watching the news on TV. The wife, mother and older sister of Chen Zhenglong, one of the passengers, left the terminal in the early hours of the 24th in tears, surrounded by reporters.
At first TransAsia Airways refused to hand over the list with the names of the passengers. Zhang Naiqian (張乃千), head of the Social Affairs Bureau of Kaohsiung City Government, went to the airport desk of the airline and asked for the list, but the clerks refused, citing the Personal Information Protection Act.
TransAsia airplane (source: Wikipedia).
Many families of the passengers, too, criticised TransAsia Airways for not informing them and not giving any help during the first few hours after the tragedy. At around 22:30 of the 23rd Xu Yicong (徐以聰), general manager of TransAsia Airways apologised for the accident.
Penghu Islands (source: Wikipedia)
TransAsia Airways was founded in 1951 as Taiwan’s first private civil airline and is based in Neihu District, Taipei. Its main focus lies on Taiwan’s domestic market, but it also operates several international flights with destinations in Japan, Thailand, Macau, South Korea among others.