Flight GE 235 of TransAsia crashed today (04.02.15) around 3 minutes after it took off at Taipei. Its destination was Kinmen, an archipelago situated near China, but alas, it never made it. The rescue operation has lasted for several hours, as the officers attempted to pull the remaining passengers from the wreckage.
Rescuers attempt to pull out passengers. Photo credits: Pichi Chuang/ Reuters
What stands out the most from this extremely sad event is probably the astonishing dash-cam video that was released online picturing the airplane in its descent, passing over a highway, and hitting a taxi cab and a bridge, in the process, with its left wing, to finally end up upside down in Keelung river. Fortunately, the plane managed to avoid crashing into buildings, perhaps, thanks to the attempts of the pilots; it is still not clear, though, as to whether it was the result of intelligent manoeuver of the pilots or just fate.
Rescue operations were immediately deployed to pull the passengers from the wreck of the plane. Hours after the crash, the wreckage remained partially submerged in the river, around 100 meters from the shore.
The following image provides a broad view of the rescue teams working to get passengers out:-
Photo credits: Sam Yeh/ AFP/ GETTY IMAGES
A close-up of the rescue team:-
Plane wreckage lying partially submerged in Keelung river
Reports have varied as to the death toll; around 19 to 23 of the people onboard the plane are said to have died in the crash. On the other hand, about 34 of them were successfully rescued, of whom 15 were injured. The passengers were sent to 8 local hospitals. Among the passengers was a toddler who was pulled out from the wreckage alive, as broadcast by local media channel TVBS from Taiwan. But, 24 people remain missing, according to the Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration. The passengers who were in the front of the plane are more likely to have lost their lives, according to the officials from the rescue team.
Search and rescue team members in life jackets and helmets trying to reach out passengers from inflatable rafts. Photo credits: David Chang/ EPA
Rescue operation. Photo credits: Pichi Chuang/ Reuters
The rescue operation is still ongoing, and its live footage has been broadcast by the local media.
Opening the plane to rescue passengers
Passengers assisted by rescue team as they wait to be brought to land. Photo credits: Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images
In the following picture, we can see the toddler who was rescued:-
Photo credits: TVBS
The black box of the airplane has also been recovered. The cause of the crash has not yet been deciphered though. The weather does not seem to have played a role in the crash. A representative from Taiwan’s Civil Aviation Authority, Lin Zhimming, affirmed that the weather conditions were good.
Apparently, the engine failed. The air traffic control reports that the last communication from the pilots was “Mayday Mayday engine flameout”.The plane was powered by twin engines: two Pratt & Whitney PW127M engines – aircrafts with this type of engine is however able to keep flying even if the engine has failed. Also, the head of Taiwan’s civil aviation authority, Lin Tyh-ming, stated that maintenance works were last done on the airplane on th 26th of January.
While greater damage and disaster were avoided since the aircraft hit neither buildings nor land, a taxi driver has probably been the only non-passenger who got to bear the brunt of the falling airplane. His vehicle was clipped by the left wing of the airplane on its way down.
Taxi driver getting out of the vehicle
The driver was thereafter transported to the hospital. He has had head injury and concussion. But, otherwise, his vital signs displayed stability.