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President Ma offers condolences over crash landing of flight GE222

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou yesterday observed a minute of silence for the victims of Wednesday's TransAsia Airways tragedy.

On Wednesday night, TransAsia Airways Flight GE222 crashed during a second attempt at landing in Penghu County. Of the 58 passengers and crew members, 48 were killed and 10 were seriously injured. Five Penghu locals also sustained minor injuries when the aircraft collided with several buildings in the outlying county.

The president recalled seeing the victims' family members on the news that night, adding that many of those watching the live footage were undoubtedly heartbroken.

The president added that Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) relayed the details of the tragedy shortly after it occurred, and that the Executive Yuan immediately set up an emergency operation center in Magong, Penghu.

The premier was instructed to coordinate the relevant departments and to appoint Vice Premier Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) as head of the emergency operation center, the president said.

Transportation Minister Yeh Kuang-shih (葉匡時) was unable to travel to Penghu on Wednesday due to weather conditions, but he arrived in the county yesterday morning to lend his assistance, the president said.

At this most difficult of times, the entire nation is the biggest pillar of support for the survivors and the victims' family members, the president said.

Over the past 12 years, Taiwan has not seen a major aviation catastrophe, and many people must be thinking now how they can help the victims and their family members, the president said.

The president made the remarks while meeting with a delegation at the Presidential Office. He requested that all those in attendance stand up and observe a minute of silence for the victims.

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