02/05/2015, 00.00
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Taiwan plane crash toll jumps to 32, 11 still missing

The authorities extend rescue operations for TransAsia Airways flight 235. The captain and his two first officers died in the crash. The black box reveals a "mayday" launched immediately after take-off: the cause believed to have been a shutdown in the engines. Taipei orders revision of 22 aircraft similar to the one destroyed in the crash.

Taipei (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Taiwanese authorities have extended search operations for the 11 passengers missing from the plane crash yesterday near Taipei. The number of confirmed dead has risen to 32, out of 53 passengers. The toll includes four children, five crew members and 31 tourists from mainland China. According to Xinhua, the official Beijing agency, "at least five compatriots" died in the disaster.

The confirmed dead include the captain Liao Chien-tsung, 42, and his two first officers: the co-pilot Liu Tzu-chung and Flight Engineer Hung Ping-chung. One of the Chinese tourists, from the city of Xiamen, is however currently hospitalized at the City Hospital in Taipei and will undergo emergency surgery later today.

While the rescue operation continues the black box flight 235 of TransAsia Airways has revealed that the disaster was caused by the failure of one engine. In a conversation with the control tower, which occurred shortly after takeoff, the pilot reported the shutdown of one of the propellers and launched a "mayday" call for help. Usually, explain some experts, shutdown occurs due to a bird sucked in by the turbine or a lack of fuel.

The disaster has gained international attention thanks to an amateur video, shot by motorists on the bridge hit by the plane. In the shot you can see the plane hit a taxi - whose driver was unhurt - before crashing into the Keelung River.

Now Taiwan's aviation regulator has also ordered operators of all 22 turboprop ATR planes on the island to carry out "special checks" on their aircraft. The checks would focus on the engines, fuel control system, propellor systems, and spark plugs and ignition connectors in the turboprop aircraft.


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