2nd LD: China Focus: Dozens feared dead in Taiwan plane crash

TAIPEI, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Rescuers have recovered more than ten bodies from the debris of a plane crash in Penghu Wednesday evening, Taiwan's transport authority said.

At least 12 people were injured and sent to hospital, while the rest of the passengers remain missing.

Flight GE 222, carrying 54 passengers and four crew, was flying from Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan to Penghu Islands in the west. It crashed after a failed emergency landing in the island county of Penghu in stormy weather.

One of the black boxes has been found, according to the authority.

The twin-engine ATR-72 turboprop aircraft was originally scheduled to take off at 4 p.m., but left Kaohsiung at 5:43 p.m. due to bad weather.

As the plane was preparing to land at Magong Airport in heavy rain, it was forced to pull up due to poor visibility.

The aircraft requested to circle above before trying to land but lost contact with the tower, said Jean Shen, director general of Taiwan's civil aeronautics administration, at a press conference.

On its second attempt at landing, the flight crashed into residential buildings in the village of Xixi in Penghu.

According to the transport authority, the passengers onboard the plane included two French nationals. No one from the Chinese mainland was on the plane.

A flurry of reports have generated a somewhat chaotic contradiction of information, with earlier local media reports quoting also sources from local transport authority as saying that 47 people had been confirmed dead in the plane crash.

The accident took place as typhoon Matmo slammed the island with heavy rains and strong winds, shutting financial markets and schools.

There had been 11 aviation accidents in waters off the Penghu islands since 1967, resulting in 289 people dead or missing.