Update: At least 19 people are confirmed dead after a TransAsia ATR 72-600 crashed into the Keelung River in New Taipei City, just east of the Taiwanese capital on Wednesday morning.
Flight GE235 had taken off only moments before the pilot transmitted a mayday call to report an engine flame out. Air traffic control lost contact with the plane at 10.55 a.m., Taiwan's state news agency CNA reported.
The French-made twin prop had taken off from Taipei's Songshan International Airport in the city's northeast, clipping an elevated bridge before it plunged into the water in the eastern Xizhi district just five minutes into its planned 55 minute journey to Taiwan's Kinmen Island just off the coast of mainland China.
A spokesperson from Taiwan's civil aviation authority told a press conference the aircraft was less than a year old and had been serviced on January 26.
Many of the 58 people on board, including five crew and two children were were able to exit the wreckage and swim to the river bank. Rescue crews were scrambled to the river and machinery had been deployed help emergency services cut into the fuselage and get to those still trapped inside the partially submerged plane. The rescue operation is ongoing.
The driver of a taxi struck by the plane at it clipped the bridge was unharmed.
Transasia, Taiwan's third-largest carrier, mainly operates domestic flights along with with a small number of if international routes. The carrier has a patchy safety record; this is its fourth fatal crash since the mid-1990s.
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