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Taiwan plane crash: Watch horrifying moment TransAsia flight turns on its side midair, crashing into Taipei river

TransAsia plane crashes in Taiwan river Close

Video footage from a driver's dashcam captured the moment the TransAsia plane turned on its side and crashed over Taiwan's National Freeway No. 1

Video footage from a driver's dashcam captured the moment the TransAsia plane turned on its side and crashed over Taiwan's National Freeway No. 1

Emergency personnel try to extract passengers from a commercial plane after it crashed in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The Taiwanese commercial flight with 58 people aboard clipped a bridge shortly after takeoff and crashed into a river in the island's capital of Taipei on Wednesday morning.  A Taiwanese flight with 58 people aboard went sideways, clipped an elevated roadway and careened into a river Wednesday shortly after takeoff from the island's capital of Taipei. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

Emergency personnel try to extract passengers from a commercial plane after it crashed in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The Taiwanese commercial flight with 58 people aboard clipped a bridge shortly after takeoff and crashed into a river in the island's capital of Taipei on Wednesday morning. A Taiwanese flight with 58 people aboard went sideways, clipped an elevated roadway and careened into a river Wednesday shortly after takeoff from the island's capital of Taipei. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

AP

Emergency personnel carry the body of a passenger extracted from a commercial plane after it crashed in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The Taiwanese commercial flight with 58 people aboard clipped a bridge shortly after takeoff and crashed into a river in the island's capital of Taipei on Wednesday morning.  (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

Emergency personnel carry the body of a passenger extracted from a commercial plane after it crashed in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The Taiwanese commercial flight with 58 people aboard clipped a bridge shortly after takeoff and crashed into a river in the island's capital of Taipei on Wednesday morning. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

AP

Emergency personnel try to extract passengers from a commercial plane after it crashed in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The Taiwanese commercial flight with 58 people aboard clipped a bridge shortly after takeoff and crashed into a river in the island's capital of Taipei on Wednesday morning. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

Emergency personnel try to extract passengers from a commercial plane after it crashed in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The Taiwanese commercial flight with 58 people aboard clipped a bridge shortly after takeoff and crashed into a river in the island's capital of Taipei on Wednesday morning. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

AP

Emergency personnel carry the body of a passenger extracted from a commercial plane after it crashed in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The Taiwanese commercial flight with 58 people aboard clipped a bridge shortly after takeoff and crashed into a river in the island's capital of Taipei on Wednesday morning.  (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

Emergency personnel carry the body of a passenger extracted from a commercial plane after it crashed in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The Taiwanese commercial flight with 58 people aboard clipped a bridge shortly after takeoff and crashed into a river in the island's capital of Taipei on Wednesday morning. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

AP

Emergency personnel work on top of a commercial plane after it crashed in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The Taiwanese commercial flight with 58 people aboard clipped a bridge shortly after takeoff and crashed into a river in the island's capital of Taipei on Wednesday morning. (AP Photo) TAIWAN OUT

Emergency personnel work on top of a commercial plane after it crashed in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The Taiwanese commercial flight with 58 people aboard clipped a bridge shortly after takeoff and crashed into a river in the island's capital of Taipei on Wednesday morning. (AP Photo) TAIWAN OUT

AP

Soldiers remove luggage and debris on the shoreline as emergency personnel try to extract passengers from a commercial plane after it crashed in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The Taiwanese commercial flight with 58 people aboard clipped a bridge shortly after takeoff and crashed into a river in the island's capital of Taipei on Wednesday morning.  (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

Soldiers remove luggage and debris on the shoreline as emergency personnel try to extract passengers from a commercial plane after it crashed in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The Taiwanese commercial flight with 58 people aboard clipped a bridge shortly after takeoff and crashed into a river in the island's capital of Taipei on Wednesday morning. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

AP

Emergency personnel work after a commercial plane crashed into a river in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The Taiwanese commercial flight with 58 people aboard clipped a bridge shortly after takeoff and crashed into a river in the island's capital of Taipei on Wednesday morning. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

Emergency personnel work after a commercial plane crashed into a river in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The Taiwanese commercial flight with 58 people aboard clipped a bridge shortly after takeoff and crashed into a river in the island's capital of Taipei on Wednesday morning. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

AP

In this image made from Associated Press Television video, a commercial plane lies in river after crashing in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The Taiwanese commercial flight with 53 passengers aboard clipped a bridge shortly after takeoff and crashed into a river in the island's capital of Taipei on Wednesday morning. (AP Photo)

In this image made from Associated Press Television video, a commercial plane lies in river after crashing in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The Taiwanese commercial flight with 53 passengers aboard clipped a bridge shortly after takeoff and crashed into a river in the island's capital of Taipei on Wednesday morning. (AP Photo)

AP

Emergency personnel try to extract passengers from a commercial plane after it crashed in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The Taiwanese commercial flight with 58 people aboard clipped a bridge shortly after takeoff and crashed into a river in the island's capital of Taipei on Wednesday morning.  (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

Emergency personnel try to extract passengers from a commercial plane after it crashed in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The Taiwanese commercial flight with 58 people aboard clipped a bridge shortly after takeoff and crashed into a river in the island's capital of Taipei on Wednesday morning. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

AP

Stretchers wait on the shoreline of the Keelung River as emergency personnel try to extract passengers from a Taiwanese commercial plane after it crashed in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The ATR-72-600 prop-jet aircraft with 58 people aboard went sideways, clipped an elevated roadway and careened into the river Wednesday shortly after takeoff from the island's capital of Taipei, killing more than 10 people, local media and officials said. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

Stretchers wait on the shoreline of the Keelung River as emergency personnel try to extract passengers from a Taiwanese commercial plane after it crashed in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015. The ATR-72-600 prop-jet aircraft with 58 people aboard went sideways, clipped an elevated roadway and careened into the river Wednesday shortly after takeoff from the island's capital of Taipei, killing more than 10 people, local media and officials said. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)

AP

A a commercial plane lies in the river after crashing in Taipei shortly after takeoff (AP)

A a commercial plane lies in the river after crashing in Taipei shortly after takeoff (AP)

Video footage from a driver's dashcam captured the moment the TransAsia plane turned on its side and crashed over Taiwan's National Freeway No. 1

Terrifying footage shows the moment a TransAsia Airways airliner came down in Taiwan, crashing into a river with 58 people on board including three pilots.

The ATR 72 prop-jet aircraft turned on its side in midair, just after take-off, clipped an elevated roadway and crashed into the Keelung river on the island's capital of Taipei.

The flight lasted just three minutes.

At least 15 people have been killed out of 28 pulled from the wreckage. The death toll is expected to rise as rescue crews clear the mostly sunken fuselage yards from the shore. Thirty people are still missing.

Civil aviation officials said the flight took off from Taipei's Sungshan Airport at 10.53am, en route to the outlying Taiwan-controlled Kinmen islands,and lost contact with controllers two minutes later.

The pilot flying the plane had nearly 5,000 hours of flight experience. His co-pilot had nearly 7,000 hours.

The plane was flying on its side, with one wing scraping past Taiwan's National Freeway No. 1 just seconds before it plunged into the river, local television images showed.

The French-Italian-built ATR 72 plane was less than a year old, and is the airline's second to crash in the past year.

In July 2014, 48 people were killed when a flight from Kaohsiung, Taiwan attempted to land in the Penghu Islands. There were 54 on board.

The chief executive of TransAsia, Chen Xinde, has publicly apologised for today's crash.

Appearing at a televised news conference he bowed and offered his “deep apology” to the passengers and crew, Reuters reports.

The flight recorders have been recovered from the wreckage of the plane, according to Channel News Asia.

Thirty-one passengers were from China, Taiwan's tourism bureau said. Kinmen's airport is a common link between Taipei and China's Fujian province.

Wu Jun-hong, a Taipei Fire Department official who was co-ordinating the rescue, said the missing people were still in the fuselage or had been pulled downriver, he said.

"At the moment, things don't look too optimistic," Mr Wu told reporters at the scene. "Those in the front of the plane are likely to have lost their lives."

Rescuers were pulling luggage from an open plane door to clear the fuselage and Mr Wu said they planned to build a pontoon bridge to facilitate those efforts.

The plane's wing also hit a taxi, the driver of which was injured, on the freeway just before it crashed into the river, Taiwanese broadcaster TVBS reported.

Taiwan's Ministry of National Defence said it had sent 165 people and eight boats to the riverside rescue scene, joining fire department rescue crews.

Another ATR 72 operated by the same Taipei-based airline crashed in the outlying Taiwan-controlled islands of Penghu last July, killing 48 at the end of a typhoon for reasons that are still under investigation.

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February 4, 2015 -- At least 12 people were killed after a Taiwanese TransAsia Airways plane with 58 passengers and crew on board crashed into a Taipei river shortly after take-off. Graphic shows crash site.

February 4, 2015 -- At least 12 people were killed after a Taiwanese TransAsia Airways plane with 58 passengers and crew on board crashed into a Taipei river shortly after take-off. Graphic shows crash site.

The credit GRAPHIC NEWS mu

February 4, 2015 -- At least 12 people were killed after a Taiwanese TransAsia Airways plane with 58 passengers and crew on board crashed into a Taipei river shortly after take-off. Graphic shows crash site.

Belfast Telegraph