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South China Morning Post is saying:
At least 47 people were killed and 11 injured in Taiwan Weds when a local TransAsia Airways plane crashed on the beach resort island of Penghu.
Initial findings blamed a failed emergency landing for the crash of the ATR-72 twin-engine turboprop short-haul plane, which was carrying 54 passengers, including four children, and four crew members.
“Flight GE222 was scheduled to take off from Siaogang Airport in Kaohsiung to Magong in Penghu at 4pm, but because of the [rain storm] it left Siaogang at 5.43pm,” said Jean Shen, director general of the Civil Aeronautics Administration.
“The air tower received a request for the plane to make a go-around at 7.06pm but lost contact with the flight from the radar,” she said, adding that it crashed in the village of Xixi, one kilometre from the runway.
She said although there was a report of a thunderstorm, the plane was allowed to fly to Magong after weather and visibility clearance.
Local TVBS news reported that two foreigners were among the passengers, but their nationalities were unknown.
Hong Kong’s Immigration Department said it had not received calls for help from Hongkongers as of 10pm but it would stay in touch with the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office in Taipei.
The plane had been waiting permission to fly due to heavy rains on and off yesterday.
Taiwan was still under the influence of Typhoon Matmo, which brought torrential rain when it hit the island’s east coast.
Witnesses said the plane burst into flames after coming down.
A Xixi village resident said he heard a loud bang and saw flames three-storeys-high pouring from the plane.
The tail fin from the stricken aircraft. Photo: SCMP Pictures ”It happened about 150 metres in front of my house. The plane crashed into a house, but luckily no one was inside. Residents nearby called the fire department and I heard the siren of the fire trucks about 10 minutes later,” he said.
Liu Chun-yao, who owns a guesthouse in Xixi, said the weather was bad at the time.
“It was raining very hard outside the whole afternoon. There was thunder and lightening, too, and very strong winds.”
In Hong Kong, the executive director of the Hong Kong Travel Industry Council, Joseph Tung Yao-chung, said he had not received reports about Hong Kong tours or tourists in Penghu.
He said Penghu was not a hot spot for Hongkongers but he had no information about the number of individual Hong Kong tourists who holiday there.
TransAsia Airways has a fleet of around 23 Airbus and ATR aircraft, flying chiefly on domestic routes.