TransAsia plane crash toll rises to 31

TAIWAN:  The death toll in Wednesday’s crash involving a TransAsia plane rose to 31 even as 12 passengers were still reported missing.  Fifty three passengers and five crew were travelling in the aircraft when it crashed into a river in Taipei shortly after take off, agency reports said.

Initial reports said there were 15 known survivors but rescue officials refused to give up hope of finding more survivors even after the fuselage was removed from the shallow water of the river.

A couple and their two-year old child had a miraculous escape in the crash which took the lives of the pilot and the co-pilot. They had switched seats to the right side of the plane after hearing a noise emanating from the wing. The couple managed to emerge from the plane but found their child lying in water. However, the child was revived by cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Video footage of the crash showed how the turboprop aircraft clipped a bridge after takeoff and crashed into Keelung River.  Rescue teams rushed to the crash site where a large portion of the wrecked fuselage jutted out of the shallow river with one wing missing.

Before careening out of control, the plane hit a taxi travelling on the road causing injuries to the driver. A bigger disaster was averted as the pilot succeeded in avoiding crashing into apartments. The aircraft was carrying tourists from Taipei to the island of Kinmen, which lies off the Chinese coast.

Similar mishap in New York in 2009

The mishap was reminiscent of a similar accident in Hudson river in New York on January 15, 2009. An Airbus A320-200 of US Airways was forced to ditch into the river after it hit a flock of Canada geese causing loss of engine power.

Fortunately, all the 155 occupants of the aircraft were rescued safely while the plane was still afloat but was slowly sinking. It came to be known as “Miracle on the Hudson” for the miraculous escape of the passengers. The entire crew was given awards while 57-year-old Chesley B. Sullenberger, a former fighter pilot, became a national hero in the United States for his presence of mind and dexterity.

The year 2014 was one of the deadliest for the aviation industry since 2005 with 884 lives lost globally. Malaysian Airlines lost two Boeing 777s, one in the Indian Ocean while MH17 was shot down over Ukraine, allegedly by Russian-backed rebels. More recently, Air Asia lost a plane in the Java Sea near Indonesia killing all 162 passengers and crew on board.

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