The plane that crashed into a bridge and river in Taiwan yesterday visited Shannon Airport last year when it flew the Toulouse rugby team here for their Heineken Cup quarter final against Munster.
The TransAsia Airways Avions de Transport Regional (ATR) 72-600 plane, with 58 passengers and crew on board, crashed into a river after one of its wings clipped a taxi and a bridge shortly after taking off from Taipei Airport.
Of the 58 people on board, 23 were killed while another 20 are still missing while 15 people were pulled from the river after the plane managed to avoid several buildings.
The turbo-prop plane clipped a passing taxi and the wall of a bridge before careering into the shallow Keelung River below.
Soon after the tragedy, a video captured on the dashcam of a passing car, appeared on social media sites and quickly went viral.
An audio clip of the pilot’s last communication with air traffic control (ATC) also found it’s way onto the internet. The pilot could be heard telling a controller: “Mayday! Mayday! Engine Flame Out!”
The crash happened in what looked like clear weather soon after the plane had departed Taipei on a domestic flight for the island of Kinmen.
Television images showed survivors their wearing life jackets and walking from the upturned fuselage.
It has emerged that the same plane flew into Shannon Airport on April 3rd last year, prior to it’s delivery to the airline, and was carrying French rugby team Stade Toulousain (Toulouse).
The new plane was already painted in TransAsia’s colour scheme but bore both it’s French test flight registration (F-WWEF) as well as it’s new TransAsia tail number of B-22816 and aircraft construction number (1141).
The plane flew the Toulouse rugby team to Shannon Airport for the French side’s Heineken Cup quarter final clash with Munster at Thomond Park in Limerick.
The plane departed Shannon again on April 5th and was delivered to TransAsia Airways on April 15th, according to records.