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Search for Missing Continues After Taiwan Plane Crash Kills 32

  • Ralph Jennings

Taiwan authorities are still searching for 11 missing people from the TransAsia Airways plane that clipped a bridge and crashed into a river in Taipei on Wednesday.

The death toll has risen to 32 as rescuers plumb the shallow, but cold, river for a second day. Investigators have yet to release clues about the cause of the crash.

Fire rescue crews were diving into the chilly Keelung River in sometimes rainy weather Thursday to find people who were on board the flight to the Taiwan-controlled outlying islets of Kinmen.

Reports that emerged Thursday told of one passenger predicting the crash at takeoff and people on board helping one another in the early minutes of the rescue Wednesday.

Lin Ming-yi is the brother of Lin Ming-wei, a passenger who the family says saved his own two-year-old son from drowning. Both parents had escaped with the boy.

He says it must have been his brother’s instinctual reaction to perform CPR right away. Lin says his brother’s child had been underwater for three minutes. His lips had turned purple and he already had no heartbeat. So his brother responded with urgent CPR to bring him back.

Crash remains mystery

Taiwan’s Aviation Safety Council said Thursday it had found the aircraft’s flight recorder and started a formal investigation. The cause of the crash, which occurred in clear weather conditions, remains a mystery.

Japan's Kyodo news agency quoted an aeronautics official as saying he suspected the ATR-72 turboprop plane lost speed while climbing during takeoff.

According to officials, the head and tail sections, and two engines have also been recovered, although parts of the plane’s wings are still under the water.

TransAsia says the aircraft was less than a year old and had a new engine installed in April. The pilot had issued a mayday distress alert after takeoff and reported engine flameout. The flight lost contact with the airport controllers after about two minutes in the air.

Video captured near the crash site showed the plane flying sideways, clipping the bridge and hitting a taxi moments before it crashed.

Another ATR-72 aircraft operated by the same airline crashed in the outlying Penghu islets in July, killing 48. The airline said it had checked the safety of its whole ATR-72 fleet Thursday, canceling 30 domestic flights.

Meanwhile, about 30 relatives of victims from China arrived Taiwan on a charter flight to identify relatives. The airline said 31 passengers were tourists from China, raising concern the crash may affect tourism to the island. Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou visited two hospitals and a morgue Thursday following the incident. He urged an all-out effort to save people’s trust in Taiwan as a place to travel.


WATCH: Dashcam video of crash

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