A TransAsia plane carrying 58 people crashed shortly after takeoff Wednesday morning over Taiwan’s capital, clipping an overpass before falling into a river, killing at least 13 people.
The ATR-72 turboprop took off from Taipei’s Songshan Airport at 10:53 a.m. on Wednesday and crashed en route to the outlying island of Kinmen, the CAA said in a statement. It said weather conditions at the time of takeoff were permissible for flights.
The airline reported that 28 people were injured in the crash, and the rest of the people on the plane were still missing. Earlier, the Civil Aeronautics Administration said there were 31 Chinese nationals on board and five cabin crew.
Witnesses told the Taipei Fire Department they saw two bodies falling from the sky around the time of the crash. They also said pieces of plane debris hit a taxi on the ground. The driver was taken to the hospital.
First responders are continuing rescue efforts. Television footage showed wreckage of a plane floating in the Keelung river in Taipei.
Lin Tyh-ming, director-general of the CAA, said the aircraft was last maintained on Jan. 26. He added that the pilot has 4,916 hours of flight time and the co-pilot has 6,922 hours.
Taiwan’s Aviation Safety Council said the black-box data recorders for Flight 235 have been located. “We are also very eager to find out why this happened to such a new aircraft,” TransAsia Chief Executive Peter Chen said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
This is the second TransAsia plane crash in seven months. In July, Flight 222 heading from Taipei to Penghu, another outlying island, crashed a few minutes before landing, killing 48 people. TransAsia is Taiwan’s third-largest carrier by fleet size.