Mon, Feb 09, 2015 - Page 1 News List

TransAsia meets with families

NEXT STEPS:The meeting did not raise any details of compensation for the victims’ families, while searches continued for three victims still not accounted for

By Sean Lin  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Rescuers in a human chain search for missing passengers in the Keelung River in Taipei’s Nangang District yesterday, five days after TransAsia Airways Flight GE235 crashed into the river shortly after take-off.

Photo: Chang Chia-ming, Taipei Times

TransAsia Airways (復興航空) yesterday held its first meeting with family members of Flight GE235 victims to inform them of a memorial service and public funeral for the deceased, which are planned for today and tomorrow respectively.

No compensation figures were mentioned at the meeting, according to a TransAsia spokesman.

Compensation for the deceased would not be discussed until Wednesday, after memorial ceremonies have been held, Liu Chung-chi (劉忠繼) said at a news conference after the meeting.

He said all of the family members of the victims would be offered the same amount of compensation regardless of nationality.

Among the 53 passengers of the ill-fated flight, 31 were Chinese nationals on vacation and the other 22 were Taiwanese nationals. One flight attendant and 14 passengers survived.

Passengers injured in the crash as well as the family members of those killed would be eligible for a NT$200,000 consolation payment in addition to compensation, Liu said.

The carrier plans to negotiate compensation terms individually with the driver and passenger of the taxi that was hit by the plane as it came down, he added.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said it would eschew normal preservation procedures when bodies of Chinese victims are transported back to China to expedite the process.

Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥) confirmed the decision, which was made during a closed-door meeting in response to a demand from a family member of a Chinese victim.

“All bodies being transported back to China will not require preservation, but the move will have to be approved by the Chinese General Administration of Quality, Supervision and Quarantine. TransAsia will contact the agency to work out the details,” Chuang said.

TransAsia spokeswoman Amy Chen (陳逸潔) said the company would transport three bodies back to Xiamen today, after obtaining the consent of Chinese authorities to bypass procedures to preserve the bodies. The operation is likely to be commissioned to an airline and would be carried out by a passenger aircraft, she said.

TransAsia president Fred Wu (吳滬生) said the company had not yet made any plans to use its aircraft for transportation of the remains, due to a pilots re-examination administered by the Civil Aeronautics Administration that has TransAsia experiencing a shortage of staff, which has resulted in a reduced number of flights.

Meanwhile, the search continued yesterday for Chinese nationals Chen Rentai (陳仁泰) and Zhang Xiaobin (張曉彬), both men, and Kinmen resident Yang Jung-tien (楊榮添), who remained unaccounted for.

No trace of any of the three was found yesterday, despite rescue workers wading through a 22km stretch of river and air-and-sea-based search missions — the latter involving five metal detectors from the Academia Sinica — extending to 10 nautical miles (18.52km) from the Keelung River’s estuary.

The body that was recovered from the Keelung River on Saturday afternoon was yesterday identified as Lee Te-ju (李德如), a nurse at National Quemoy University, authorities said.

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