Penghu, Taiwan – July 23, 2014 — A TransAsia Airways plane crashed while attempting to land in Penghu Wednesday evening, presumably killing 47 passengers and injuring 11 others. Penghu is a small island in the Taiwan Strait, which separates Taiwan and China. The pilot of TransAsia Airways Flight GE222 was attempting an emergency landing at an airport in Xixi Village amid heavy rain in the wake of typhoon Matmo.
Here’s What We Know So Far:
- TransAsia is a budget airline that operates in Taiwan. According to the Flightradar24 website, TransAsia canceled nearly all of its flights on Wednesday, likely due to heavy rain and bad weather.
- TransAsia Airways Flight GE222 had 54 passengers and four crew members onboard.
- The 14-year-old ATR-72 plane departed from Kaohsiung, a city in the south of Taiwan, at 4:53 p.m. GE222 was supposed to land at Penghu’s Magong airport.
- Air traffic controllers lost contact with the GE222 at 7:06 p.m. as the pilot was making a second attempt to land.
- The plane was found a short time later, in flames. Transportation officials say 47 people were killed. Eleven people were rushed to a hospital with injuries.
- Visibility during the plane’s approach was one mile. Two other planes landed before GE222; one at 5:34 p.m. and another at 6:57 p.m.
- According to the Wall Street Journal, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) indicated that the plane experienced a technical failure, which prevented the aircraft from landing properly, forcing the emergency landing in Xixi Village.
- CAA Director-General Jean Shen: “We believe the aircraft crashed when it attempted to take off again. But we have no more details at this moment.”
- The CAA also told the media that the weather conditions, including heavy rain, did not exceed international regulations for landing.
- Weather reports out of Taiwan indicated that typhoon Matmo produced winds over 67 miles-per-hour on Wednesday. Power was lost in over 30,000 homes.