No Aussies on Board TransAsia Airways Flight GE222

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By Athena Yenko | July 25, 2014 9:30 AM EST

Initial inquiries done by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade found that there were no Australian on board the crashed TransAsia Airways Flight GE222.

DFAT said that preliminary advisory coming from its sources specified that there were no Australians among the casualties of the TransAsia Airways flight GE222 that crash landed Wednesday.

However, there were 42 people who died among the 58 passengers and 11 others were injured. Two French nationals were among the passengers.

The plane, a twin-engine ATR-72 turboprop aircraft and travelling from Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan to Penghu Islands in the west, was attempting to land as Typhoon Matmo hit the region.

According to Jean Shen, director general of Taiwan's civil aeronautics administration, the plane contacted a tower as it requests to circle above before landing at Magong Airport. However, it lost contact with the tower and crashed at approximately 7 pm.

One official from the Penghu county fire said that they found 42 bodies and some body parts, AFP reports.

But a local report from Taiwan's transport authority said that only ten bodies were recovered from the wreckage with the rest still missing.

Meanwhile, Zhang Zhijun, Chinese mainland's Taiwan affairs chief, expressed his sympathies to the families of the dead and missing passengers. He also expressed his sympathies to his Taiwan counterpart Wang Yu-chi.

The mainland is ready to give any assistance, Zhang Zhijun said.

The Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits also expressed its condolences to the grieving families through a message sent to the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation.

Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou described Wednesday as "a very sad day in the history of Taiwanese aviation," Ma Wei-kuo, spokesman for his office told press.

The plane's crash was heard by residents around its crash site.  Witnesses shared that they heard a thunder-like sound followed by a sound of an explosion, government run Central News Agency reported.

"I heard a loud bang. I thought it was thunder, and then I heard another bang and I saw a fireball not far away from my house," a resident said.

 Taiwanese Defence Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Luo Shou-he said that there were already 200 military personnel attending to the rescue operations. An air force rescue team had also been on standby if there were survivors that needed to be transported immediately to the hospital.

Meanwhile, the mood was grim in Taipei as TransAsia Airways' general manager, Hsu Yi-Tsung, bent forward at the presence of reporters while he apologises for the accident tearfully.

"As TransAsia is responsible for this matter, we apologize. We apologize," Hsu said.

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