A TransAsia Airways plane crashed while attempting to land in stormy weather on an island off Taiwan on Wednesday, killing 47 people, setting buildings on fire, and wrecking houses and cars on the ground.
According to reports, the plane, a 70-seat ATR 72, crashed near the runway on the island of Penghu in the Taiwan Strait, west of the mainland, with 54 passengers and four crew on board.
According to the head of Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration, Jean Shen, the plane took off from Taiwan’s southern city of Kaohsiung at 4:53 p.m., headed for the island of Makong, but crash-landed in Huxi township of Penghu County.
The aircraft lost contact with the tower at 7:06 p.m. after saying it would make a second landing attempt.
The aviation agency also said that visibility as the plane approached was 1,600 meters and the cloud cover was as low as 600 meters, which met standards for landing.
The official death toll was 47, according to Wen Chia-hung, spokesman for the Penghu disaster response center. He said the 11 other people were injured.
Typhoon Matmo slammed into Taiwan on Wednesday, bringing heavy rain and strong winds. It passed the island and headed into China, downgraded from typhoon to tropical storm.
Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Thursday that no Filipinos were onboard the plane.
“Our representative office in Taiwan has confirmed that there are no Filipinos on board the TransAsia plane that crashed Wednesday,” DFA spokesman Charles Jose said in a statement.