A PLANE attempting to land in stormy weather crashed on a small Taiwanese island overnight, killing 47 people and wrecking houses and cars on the ground.
Another 11 people were injured when the ATR-72 operated by Taiwan's TransAsia Airways crashed on Penghu, an island in the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and China, Transport Minister Yeh Kuang-shih was quoted as saying by the government's Central News Agency.
The plane was arriving from Kaohsiung, a city in southern Taiwan.
The twin-engine turboprop plane crashed while making a second landing attempt with a total of 58 passengers and crew members aboard, according to Yeh.
President Ma Ying-jeou called it "a very sad day in the history of Taiwanese aviation" and ordered authorities to quickly clarify the details, said a spokesman for his office, Ma Wei-kuo, the news agency reported.
The plane crashed in the village of Xixi outside the airport. Photos in local media showed firefighters using flashlights to look at wreckage in the darkness, and buildings and cars damaged by debris.
About 200 military personnel were sent to help recover the people who were on the plane, Taiwanese Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Luo Shou-he said, according to the Central News Agency.
The ministry said military vehicles and ambulances were rushing people to hospitals and an air force rescue team was on standby to transfer survivors to Taiwan's main island if needed for treatment, the agency reported.