A passenger plane clipped a bridge and plunged into a river in Taiwan on Wednesday, killing at least 23 people, according to the island’s official news agency, CNA.
Rescuers scrambled to pull survivors from the submerged wreck of the ATR 72 twin-engine turboprop aircraft, which went down shortly after takeoff from Taipei, the Taiwanese capital.
Fifty-eight people were aboard TransAsia Airways Flight GE235 when it veered out of control as it flew to Kinmen, off the coast of the Chinese province of Xiamen.
The toll: 23 confirmed dead, 15 injured, including two on the ground, and 20 missing, CNA reported, adding that a search and rescue effort continues.
Crews later recovered the aircraft’s “black boxes,” CNA said. The flight data recorder and voice data recorder were found in the tail of the plane, Ang Xingzhong, the executive director of Taiwan’s Aviation Safety Council, told the news agency.
A dash-cam video captured the moment the plane hurtled out of control above the city’s Nanhu Bridge before crashing into the Keelung River, just after 11 a.m. local time (10 p.m. ET).
CNA reported that the pilot appeared to try to control the plane as it descended, but the aircraft’s wing grazed the overpass, clipping a passing taxi.
The two people in the taxi were injured but are in stable condition after being taken to hospital, CNA said.
Rescuers in lifeboats pulled survivors from the water and the wreckage. Some passengers appeared to be wearing life jackets as they waited their turn to board rescue boats.
The military said it had 165 personnel and numerous vehicles nearby to assist rescue efforts if required.
Hours after the crash, TransAsia Airways CEO Chen Xinde extended a “deep apology to the victims and our crew.”
He said 31 of the passengers aboard the flight were Chinese tourists, including three children. Twenty-two were from Taiwan, including one child.
The airline had sent the passenger manifest to authorities, and families were confirming the identities of the deceased, he said.
Airline staff have been dispatched to hospitals to help families and the injured, as well as the taxi driver and passenger who were also receiving treatment.
Some were also going to Xiamen to assist two Chinese travel agencies, Chen said.