At least 12 people were killed and dozens were unaccounted for after a Taiwanese TransAsia Airways plane with 58 passengers and crew on board crashed into a Taipei river shortly after take-off on Wednesday, officials and domestic media said.
Dramatic amateur video footage from Wednesday’s accident showed the TransAsia ATR 72-600 turboprop plane hit the road bridge as it banked side-long towards the water. The plane is now half-submerged in the Keelung River.
The accident happened just before 11:00 am (0300 GMT), shortly after Flight GE235 left Songshan airport in northern Taipei en route to the island of Kinmen, with 58 people on board including five crew members.
The crash was the airline’s second disaster in the last six months.
In a report from Interaksyon.com, a senior rescuer at the site said that 27 of the 58 people aboard — many of them Chinese tourists — had been retrieved from the wreckage. The remaining 31 people are thought to be trapped inside the submerged front section of the plane. Rescuers have cut open the side of the fuselage and are trying to rescue several people still trapped inside.
Footage shown on Taiwanese television as well as on YouTube showed the plane’s port-side wing clipping an overpass after it missed what appeared to be apartment buildings by metres.