Dozens Feared Dead in Taiwan Plane Crash

(CNN) - A twin-engine turboprop plane crashed Wednesday in Taiwan's Penghu Islands, according to Taiwan's Central News Agency. CNN affiliate ETTV is reporting that the plane crashed into a residential building.

Officials are fearful that dozens have died.

There were 54 passengers and four crew aboard the aircraft, said Jean Shen, the director-general of the Civil Aeronautics Administration.

There were no casualties on the ground, Taiwan's Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih told reporters. He added that two French nationals were among those on board, and French authorities have been notified.

The plane's flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder have been recovered and investigators will examine the crash site Thursday, the minister said.

CNN is working on getting details about the crash, and has spoken with Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration, which is saying only that dozens are missing and others are hospitalized. Officials caution that numbers could change.

The plane crashed near Magong Airport at about 7 p.m., according to CNA. Witnesses told ETTV that they saw homes on fire.

The cause of the crash is unknown so far.

Some media reports said strong winds from Typhoon Matmo, which hit Taiwan early Wednesday, forced the plane to attempt a crash landing.

Shen told reporters that visibility at Magong Airport at the time of the plane's attempted landing was about 1,600 meters (1 mile) and considered acceptable for landing.

The flight -- an ATR 72 -- took off from Kaohsiung, Taiwan, CNA reported. The Penghu Islands are off the west coast of the main Taiwanese island.


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