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Pope Francis offers condolences over Taiwan plane crash tragedy

TAIPEI--Pope Francis offered condolences late Thursday to the families of the victims of Flight GE222, which crashed in Taiwan's outlying Penghu island chain Wednesday night, killing 48 of the 58 people on board.

“The Holy Father learned with sadness of the air accident near Magong airport and he asks you kindly to convey his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and the assurance of his prayers for all affected by this tragedy,” Cardinal Piero Parolin, the pope's secretary of state, said in the papal telegram to the archbishop of Taipei.

“Upon all he invokes God's blessings of consolation, strength and peace,” the telegram said.

Taiwan's Ambassador to the Holy See Larry Wang said Friday that he has received condolences from other ambassadors to the Holy See and state officials over the past two days.

Meanwhile, the European Union also offered condolences.

“We offer our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of the TransAsia Airways airplane crash on Penghu Island off the coast of Taiwan. We share the grief of all those who have lost loved ones and express our sympathies to those who have been injured,” the European External Action Service, the EU's diplomatic body, said in a statement Thursday.

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