According to a report by Taiwan’s Central News Agency, a twin-engine turboprop plane crashed Wednesday, July 23, into a residential building in Taiwan’s Penghu Islands off the west coast. Officials have reported that at least 48 passengers in the plane died in the crash despite reports from Yeh Kuang-shih, Transportation Minister of Taiwan, that claimed there were no deaths.
The TransAsia Airways Flight GE222 held 54 passengers and four crew members, including two French nationals according to the director-general of the Civil Aeronautic Administration, Jean Shen. The flight had been delayed due to inclement weather conditions from the typhoon in the region. Despite the harsh conditions, the flight took off from Kaohsiung, Taiwan at 5:45 p.m. local time and crashed near Magong Airport at about 7 p.m.
Various reports claim the cause of the crash stemmed from the strong winds of Typhoon Matmo, which drove the pilots to attempt a crash landing. According to The Guardian, Taiwan’s weather agency reported gusts of wind up to 67 mph–winds that tore down power lines, cutting off electricity for more than 30,000 homes.
However, according to Reuters, the Civil Aeronautic Administration claims that weather did not cause the plane to crash.
“There were nine flights on the same route between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. yesterday. Only the TransAsia flight crashed,” Shen said. “The weather reports showed it was totally OK for landing.”
Shen added that they have not yet determined what did cause the crash, but they have not ruled out anything. Both black boxes were recovered and will be used in the investigation, according to Reuters.
In a press conference, TransAsia Airways president, Chooi Yee-choong expressed a heartfelt sense of sadness, saying, “I sincerely apologize,” according to a report from CNN. A statement from the airline reads, “TransAsia Airways is exhausting all means to assist passengers, victims and families.” Dozens of injured passengers were brought to Penghu Hospital for assistance.