Taiwanese plane crashes outside airport, 47 killed
TAIPEI: A plane landing in stormy weather crashed
outside an airport on a small Taiwanese island late on 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
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 fire-fighters 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.