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1st Ld: Xi grieves over Taiwan plane crash


BEIJING, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, conveyed condolences after a deadly plane crash in Taiwan Wednesday evening.

Xi, who is on a Latin America tour, felt "deeply grieved" after learning the tragedy has caused heavy casualties, said a statement from the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office (SCTAO).

Flight GE 222, operated by Taiwan's TransAsia Airways, crashed at around 7 p.m. while attempting to land in stormy weather.

The twin-engine ATR-72 turboprop aircraft was traveling from Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan to Penghu Islands in the west with 58 passengers and crew on board.

Rescuers have so far recovered 36 bodies, a local fire brigade official said.

Xi told the SCTAO to convey to relevant Taiwan departments his deepest sympathies over the loss of lives, and extended condolences to the relatives of the victims.