Dozens feared dead in Taiwan plane crash; Did weather play a role?

Radar imagery as Typhoon Matmo brings heavy rain to western Taiwan. (Central Weather Bureau)
Radar imagery as Typhoon Matmo brings heavy rain to western Taiwan. (Central Weather Bureau)

Dozens of people are feared dead after the crash of a TransAsia plane on Wednesday evening local time in southwest Taiwan. Of the 58 people aboard the flight, the AP is reporting that 47 people were trapped and feared dead.

A TransAsia passenger jet carrying 54 passengers and 4 crew crashed into a residential area in Taiwan’s Penghu township on July 23, killing dozens. (Apple Daily Taiwan Branch via YouTube)

 

It’s not clear what caused the crash of the passenger jet in Penghu County, Taiwan on Wednesday, though it’s possible that Tropical Storm Matmo played a role. The South China Morning Post reports:

Because of the bad weather at Penghu, the flight’s first attempt to land failed. At 7.06pm, the captain requested another landing, but subsequently lost contact with the control tower. The plane was later found crashed near the village of Xicun. Local residents saw flames around the plane.

Penghu is an area of islands in the Taiwan Strait in southwest Taiwan. Heavy rain bands and thunderstorms could be seen on radar over Penghu at the time of the crash. Matmo made landfall in Taiwan on Tuesday as a category 2 typhoon.

Read more: Typhoon Matmo makes landfall in Taiwan

Matmo has since weakened as it traversed the rugged Taiwan terrain, though winds over the Penghu islands would likely have been intense as they whipped across the Taiwan Strait. According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Matmo is currently a tropical storm with sustained winds of 58 mph.

Matmo Radar

AccuWeather’s Anthony Sagliani illustrates the island’s position on radar as Matmo’s heavy rain bands passed over:

CNN International Meteorologist Mari Ramos reports that Penghu airport experienced tropical storm-force winds around the time the accident occurred:

Angela Fritz is an atmospheric scientist and The Post's deputy weather editor.
Comments
Show Comments
Most Read Local
Next Story
Jason Samenow · July 23