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47 killed in Taiwan plane crash; 11 hurt

| Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 7:18 p.m.
AFP/Getty Images
A photo taken on July 23, 2014 shows a part of the wreckage of the TransAsia Airways flight GE222 after it crashed in Penghu islands. More than 40 people were feared dead in a plane crash in Taiwan with witnesses and local media reporting the flight came down in a storm after an aborted landing. Taiwan's transport minister said that 10 bodies had so far been recovered from the wreckage of the domestic flight, which had 58 people on board. AFP PHOTO / Apple Daily -- TAIWAN, HONG KONG OUT -- RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT 'AFP PHOTO / Apple Daily TAIWAN / HO' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTSHO/AFP/Getty Images
Rescue workers work next to the wreckage of TransAsia Airways flight GE222 which crashed while attempting to land in stormy weather on the Taiwanese island of Penghu, late Wednesday, July 23, 2014. A plane landing in stormy weather crashed outside an airport on a small Taiwanese island late Wednesday, and a transport minister said dozens of people were trapped and feared dead.

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A plane attempting to land in stormy weather crashed on a small Taiwanese island late Wednesday, killing 47 people and wrecking houses and cars on the ground.

The ATR-72 operated by Taiwan's TransAsia Airways was carrying 58 passengers and crew when it crashed on Penghu in the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and China, authorities said. The plane was arriving from the city of Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan.

Two people aboard the plane were French citizens and the rest Taiwanese, Transport Minister Yeh Kuang-shih told reporters. The twin-engine turboprop crashed while making a second landing attempt, Yeh said.

The crash of flight GE222 was Taiwan's first fatal air accident in 12 years and occurred after Typhoon Matmo passed across the island, causing heavy rains that continued into Wednesday night. About 200 flights had been canceled earlier in the day because of rain and strong winds.

The official death toll was 47, according to Wen Chia-hung, spokesman for the Penghu disaster response center. He said 11 were injured.

Authorities were looking for one person who might have been in a house that was struck by wreckage, Wen said. A car was crushed by a toppled wall, but Wen said no one was in it.

President Ma Ying-jeou called it “a very sad day in the history of Taiwanese aviation,” according to a spokesman for his office, Ma Wei-kuo, the government's Central News Agency reported.

The plane came down in the village of Xixi outside the airport. Television stations showed rescue workers pulling bodies from wreckage. Photos in local media showed firefighters using flashlights to look through the wreckage, and buildings damaged by debris.

Penghu, a scenic chain of 64 islets, is a popular tourist site about 90 miles southwest of the Taiwanese capital, Taipei.

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