Rescuers are still searching for 12 people after using a crane to hoist the fuselage of a wrecked TransAsia Airways plane from a shallow river in Taiwan's capital following a crash that killed at least 32 others. Flight GE235 with 58 people aboard—many of them travelers from China—banked sharply on its side yesterday shortly after takeoff from Taipei, clipped a highway bridge, and then careened into the Keelung River. Dramatic video clips apparently taken from cars were posted online and aired by broadcasters, showing the ATR 72 propjet as it pivoted onto its side while zooming toward a traffic bridge over the river.
The plane's wing hit a taxi on the freeway, and the driver and a passenger were injured. Speculation cited in local media says the crew may have turned sharply to follow the line of the river to avoid crashing into a high-rise residential area, but Taiwan's aviation authority says it has no evidence of that. A Taiwanese aviation official says that moments before the crash, one of its pilots said, "Mayday, mayday, engine flameout." Engine flameout refers to flames being extinguished in the combustion chamber of the engine so that it shuts down and no longer drives the propeller. Causes could include a lack of fuel or being struck by volcanic ash, a bird, or some other object. TransAsia officials say the plane was less than a year old and had a new engine installed in April last year after a glitch with the original one. (Read more Taiwan stories.)