It’s been a terrible week in aviation. This morning, reports confirm that at least 51 passengers are feared dead following an accident on regional Taiwanese TransAsia flight GE222, from Kaohsiung to Magong. The short, 35-minute flight was stymied by extreme weather on its course and crashed after a failed attempt to land; the wreckage has been found near the village of Xicun, where the plane is said to have gone up in flames. 54 passengers, including four children, were on board, along with four crew members—all of whom are currently thought to have suffered injuries or fatalities from the crash.
The Taiwanese airline flies mostly regional routes, with a focus on the domestic market. Though it has been operating for almost 30 years, the carrier remains small, with just 23 planes in its fleet. GE222 marks only its third accident—and the first involving passenger injuries or deaths. Most recently, TransAsia made headlines with its plans to launch a budget carrier, V Air, expected to begin service to Northeast Asian cities next year.
This news follows closely on the heels of Malaysia Airlines’ MH17, which was shot down over Ukraine just six days ago leaving 298 fatalities in its wake, and fears over a Hamas rocket landing within critical range of Israel’s Tel Aviv airport, which triggered the FAA to ban American airlines from flying into that airspace yesterday.
Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.