At least 9 killed, more feared trapped after TransAsia Airways jet crashes into Taipei river

At least 9 killed, more feared trapped after TransAsia Airways jet crashes into Taipei river

AT LEAST nine people were killed, reported TV stations, and many more are feared trapped after a TransAsia Airways plane crashed into a river in New Taipei City, which encircles Taipei, on Wednesday.

Twenty-six others, including two children, have been sent to hospitals in New Taipei City, news reports said. The extent of their injuries is not clear.

The ATR-72-600 turboprop aircraft with 58 onboard, of whom 31 are tourists from mainland China, was flying from Taipei to the offshore island of Kinmen when it crashed into the Keelung River at 10.26am, the quasi-official Central News Agency (CNA) and Reuters said. The plane apparently ramming into an elevated highway before falling into the river, CNA said. The crash happened shortly after the plane took off from Songshan Airport in Taipei and was suspected to be due to insufficient propelling force, according to United Daily News.

The pilot of flight GE235 radioed a "Mayday, Mayday" distress call shortly before the crash, but did not respond when air traffic controllers answered, the report said. 

An eyewitness on the ground was cited as saying the aircraft was flying "almost 90 degrees on its side" and going increasingly lower until it hit the highway bridge and crashed into the river.

CNA posted on its website dramatic photos of the plane hitting the highway, as a taxi on the highway apparently swerved to avoid being hit.