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Death toll in Taiwan plane crash rises to 23

(Xinhua)    20:14, February 04, 2015

TAIPEI, Feb. 4-- At least 23 people died after a Taiwan TransAsia Airways plane crashed into the Keelung River in Taipei on Wednesday morning, ten minutes after takeoff.

Survivors have been taken to nearby hospitals in Taipei and New Taipei City, according to local disaster relief authorities. The plane's two black boxes have been recovered and should be deciphered by Wednesday night.

Flight GE235 was headed for Kinmen from Taipei with 53 passengers on board, including 31 from the Chinese mainland, and five crew. Three of the mainland passengers are known to be children.

The plane has been in service since April 2014 and was subject to a routine safety check this month, according to Taipei authorities.

The aircraft plunged into the river at 10:55 a.m. after its wing clipped a taxi with a man and a woman inside on an elevated motorway.

The mainland passengers were on trips organized by two travel agencies from Xiamen City in the southeast mainland province of Fujian, the Taiwan tourism authority confirmed.

The State Council Taiwan Affairs Office and the Association for Relations across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) launched a joint emergency response operation and are being kept up to date by Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council and the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF). They extended condolences to families of the victims and urged those on the ground to do as much as they could.

In a message sent to the SEF, the ARATS said the relatives of the Chinese mainland passengers on board the plane are anxious for their whereabouts.

The ARATS hoped that the SEF can assist in gaining information about passengers from the mainland and urge related parties to spare no efforts in searching for passengers who are still missing and treating those injured.

On July 23, 2014, TransAsia Airways flight GE222, also an ATR-72 aircraft, crashed on Taiwan's Penghu islands, killing 48 people.

TransAsia Airways, founded in 1951, was Taiwan's first private airline, mainly focusing on short overseas flights.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Ma Xiaochun,Bianji)

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