BEIJING: Sixteen Chinese were among the 31 people confirmed dead in the TransAsia Airways plane crash in Taiwan, officials said today.
TransAsia Airways Flight 235 with 58 people aboard tilted sharply on its side yesterday shortly after takeoff from Taipei, clipped a highway bridge and then crashed into the Keelung River.
Thirty one people were killed, 15 injured and 12, all of them from China, are still missing.
The Taiwan Aviation Safety Council said that it has invited accident investigators from China to take part in the accident investigation.
A cross-Strait emergency response mechanism has been launched to deal with the accident.
The first group of eight family members of the Chinese passengers arrived in Taipei today while another 16 family members were on their way, Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
All the missing passengers are tourists from China. Three other mainland passengers were also injured.
The ATR-72 aircraft plunged into the Keelung River after its wing clipped a taxi on an elevated freeway, 10 minutes after takeoff. The taxi was carrying two passengers.
The plane was heading for Kinmen from Taipei with 53 passengers on board, including 31 from China, and five crew members. Three of the Chinese passengers are children.
The bodies of the captain and two co-pilots have been found and the plane's two black box has been recovered.
Rescue work has been hampered by the murkiness of the Keelung River. Several segments of the plane, including the cockpit, have been raised out of the water.
The mainland passengers were on trips organised by two travel agencies from Xiamen City in Fujian Province, the Taiwan tourism authority confirmed.
TransAsia announced yesterday that passengers who wanted to cancel their bookings would have their usual commission fees waived.
This is not the first time that an ATR-72 aircraft has crashed in Taiwan.
On July 23, 2014, TransAsia Airways flight GE222 crashed on Taiwan's Penghu Island, killing 48 people.
TransAsia Airways, founded in 1951, was Taiwan's first private airline, mainly focusing on short overseas flights.