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Families arrive in Penghu to identify crash victims

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- TransAsia Airways (復興航空) yesterday dispatched two chartered planes from Taipei and Kaohsiung to carry family members so they could identify the bodies of the 48 victims who passed away after flight GE222 crashed in Penghu on Wednesday night.

According to the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA), of the 48 victims, 38 bodies have been identified.

As the bodies of the victims arrived at the funeral house, victims' family members burst into tears and cried out the victims' names when they saw the bodies.

Many victims' families complained that TransAsia Airways was not very helpful after the news of the crash broke. A man, surnamed Wang, who lost his brother in the crash, said that the airline sent a few employees to the scene in Penghu, but they just chatted to each other instead of talking to the victims' families.

According to a volunteer police officer, surnamed Yeh, who participated in the rescue mission at the crash scene, it was the longest and most depressing night of his life.

Yeh said that blood mixed with the rain and dyed the road near the scene red. He said he helped move a few bodies, including the body of the female flight attendant, surnamed Wu, who had worked for TransAsia Airways for seven months.

A volunteer firefighter, surnamed Hsin, who rushed to the crash site said that aircraft wreckage and bodies were scattered all around, and a father who climbed out of the debris refused to be transported to the hospital because his two children were still inside the aircraft.

“The father was covered in blood and begged the rescue team to save his children, and he almost passed out when the bodies of his two children were carried out from the wreckage,” said Hsin.

According to Hsin, people from the village where the aircraft crashed also joined the rescue mission, and they searched for survivors in the rain.

“Many of us cried when searching for survivors, and we kept falling down due to the heavy rain,” said Hsin.

According to local reports, a couple who lived in Magong City boarded the plane with their nephew's family of four, and all six of them perished in the crash, devastating their families after they received the news.

A man, surnamed Hsieh, said that his friend's family of four also boarded flight GE222, and he broke down into tears when he saw his friend's and his family's names on the passenger list.

Hsieh said that he asked his friend if he should change his flight due to the approaching typhoon, but his friend said it should be fine.

Five Injured Victims Remain Stable

Chang Gung Memorial Hospital yesterday said that five air crash victims who suffered from minor injuries were transported back to Kaohsiung after they were stabilized.

According to the hospital, the five injured victims mostly suffered from burns and injuries from the plane's impact with the ground.

Meanwhile, many local residents and tourists in Penghu rushed to hospitals last night in the rain when they heard that stocks of blood were low.

“We are all Taiwanese, and we hope that we can do whatever we can to save as many lives as possible,” said a person who went to the hospital to donate blood.

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Three relatives of plane crash victims hold pictures of their family members in Penghu, yesterday. A volunteer firefighter, surnamed Hsin, who rushed to the crash site said that aircraft wreckage and bodies were scattered all around, and a father who climbed out of the debris refused to be transported to the hospital because his two children were still inside the aircraft. (CNA)

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