Update: Death toll for Taiwan's GE222 disaster rises to 48 as some blame TransAsia for recklessness

By Ryan Kilpatrick, July 24, 2014

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48 people have been confirmed dead after last night's GE-222 disaster in Penghu County, Taiwan, with the remaining ten on board still in hospital.

The flight from Kaohsiung to Magong was originally scheduled for 4:00pm but its departure was delayed until 5:43pm due to Typhoon Matmo, which caused the cancellation of many other scheduled flights.

Many in Taiwan are questioning the decision to fly at all in such treacherous conditions, particularly to the Taiwan Strait archipelago where the storm was even stronger. Witnesses have said that there was heavy rain at the time but the Civil Aeronautics Administration said that the visual range was 243.8m, which was adequate for landing. Nonetheless, public anger toward the budget airline appears to be mounting.

Magong Airport has been closed following the failed crash landing in Shishi Village, along with all TransAsia flights. 60-year-old pilot Lee Yi-liang had 15 years of experience flying civilian aircraft and clocked 23,000 flight hours, while his 39-year-old co-pilot Chiang Kuan-hsing had 2,392. One of the two black boxes on board has been recovered and handed over to the CAA for analysis. One expert has already said that the possibility of a lightning strike being responsible is very low, and that the plane was most likely taken down by powerful winds. However, one survivor has said that was an "explosion" on board the turboprop ATR72 before it went down.

Some of the nationalistic "angry youth" (also known as "shit youth") in China have been celebrating the tragedy, saying it's "happy news" and "serves them right" for not going about disasters in China. Others have made acerbic, condensing remarks proclaiming "pray for our compatriots!" and making the tired, patronizing of China-Taiwan relations to that between parents and children. Unfortunately, the voices of genuine humanity and compassion online were muffled below shrill politicization. Xi Jinping has also expressed grief for his "Taiwan compatriots."

Update: Two French nationals are confirmed to be amongst the dead. The two girls were short-term medical exchange students at National Taiwan University and were traveling before heading back home, having just finished their program at NTU.

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