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Taiwan plane crash kills 47 during stormy weather landing attempt

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TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) - A plane landing in stormy weather crashed outside an airport on a small Taiwanese island late Wednesday, and a transport minister said 47 people were trapped and feared dead.

Taiwan's Transport Minister Yeh Kuang-shih was quoted by the government's Central News Agency as saying another 11 people were injured after the plane crashed and caught fire while making a second landing attempt.

The agency had earlier reported, citing a local fire brigade chief, that 51 people had been killed.

Flight GE222, an ATR-72 aircraft operated by Taiwanese airline TransAsia Airways, was heading from the southern port city of Kaohsiung to the island Penghu, halfway between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan in the Taiwan Strait, according to the Taiwanese news agency.

It crashed outside the airport in Xixi village, and pictures showed in local media showed a handful of firefighters using flashlights to look at wreckage in the darkness.

Penghu is a lightly populated island that averages about two flights a day from Taipei.

Yeh, the transport minister, was quoted as saying the flight carried 58 passengers and crew members.

Taiwan was battered by Typhoon Matmo early Tuesday morning, and the Central Weather Bureau was advising of heavy rain through the evening, even though the center of the storm was in mainland China.

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