TAIPEI, July 25 -- Scattered along a narrow lane in Magong City on Penghu Island, west of Taiwan, were parts of TransAsia flight GE 222. The cockpit was leaning against a wall of a house. The propeller was near another home, and the tail was at one end of the lane.
Penghu, with its sandy beach and coral stone, suffered a plane crash on Wednesday evening.
The journey from Kaohsiung to Magong Airport in Penghu was supposed to take 35 minutes. But the aircraft ended up in Xixi Village, not far away from the airport, killing 48 people.
The plane, with 54 passengers and four crew on board, could not land due to poor visibility and requested to circle above. However, it failed a second landing attempt and crashed into residential buildings.
There was heavy rain as well as thunder and lightning at the time, according to witnesses.
"I felt my house tremble and rushed out to find that a plane had crashed," said an old man surnamed Ni, with a choked voice shaking his head. "A child ran out from the debris then an adult. They were soon picked up by an ambulance."
Another witness heard a loud sound and saw survivors trying to escape from the plane. "We couldn't do anything as the fire was so rampant," he said.
Of the 48 people killed, 36 bodies have been identified, including those of two French nationals, according to Taiwan's civil aeronautics authority.
Eight of the 10 people injured in the crash have been sent to Taipei or Kaohsiung, while one has returned home, with the other in hospital on Penghu.
On Friday afternoon, the first group of seven remains were sent back to Kaohsiung by the air force. The other bodies will be sent in two days.
In tears, family members spoke to the deceased. They held portraits of their loved ones.
Taiwan's aviation safety council will release more information next week after the plane's two black boxes have been examined.
The pilot had 22 years or 22,994 hours of flight experience, and the copilot two and a half years or 2,392 hours.
Taiwan's aviation safety head Wang Hsing-chung said fragments of the aircraft were also spotted in woods not far from the crash site. Tree branches were broken or damaged.
"The woods might have been the first place the plane hit," said Wang.
He said the wreckage of the plane will be transferred in two days to a local air force base, where it will be examined.
Since 1967, there had been 11 aviation accidents in waters off Penghu Islands, resulting in 289 people dead or missing.