At least 23 people died and 15 were rescued from thewreckage of TransAsia passenger jet GE235, heading for South-eastern China, as it crashed into a Taiwanese river shortly after take-off. Shocking videofootage of the incident shows the plane clipping a freeway overpass beforeplunging into the Keelung River in Taipei, Taiwan.

The plane is lying half-submerged in the river, with rescueteams having to cut the fuselage open to free the victims trapped inside. Televisionfootage showed over 15 passengers being rescued alive and swimming to safety, includinga Chinese child rushed to the hospital with minor injuries.

Over 20 passengersare still unaccounted for.

The Taipei Fire Department spokesman said that themissing passengers are believed to be either still inside the half-submerged planefuselage or were pulled downriver. According to Taipei’s local news, eye-witnessesdescribe seeing passengers thrown out of the plane upon impact with the river. Morethan 1000 emergency personnel, including the military, are at the scene and therescuing efforts will continue.

The local news aired the final communication between thepilots and air traffic control, where the crew can be heard shouting “Mayday!Mayday! Engine flame out”.

What exactly caused the ATR-72 turbo prop plane tocrash only a few minutes after take-off is still unknown.

The plane’s black boxeshave already been recovered and will be analysed by investigators.

A taxi-driver was also rushed to hospital with severehead injuries after his vehicle was hit by one of the wings of the plunging plane,on the freeway overpass.

The TransAsia CEO, Chen Xinde, offered a “deep apology” toall the victims and their families and guaranteed that all their planes havebeen “under thorough scrutiny” since mid-2014.

According to Taiwan’s CivilAeronautics authorities, the plane was less than one year old and had been serviceda week ago. TranAsia, popular for its low-cost tickets, had already seen one oftheir planes crash in the Taiwan Strait, last July, killing 48 people andinjuring 10. 

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