Families of mainland Chinese victims arrive in Taipei

Families of mainland Chinese victims arrive in Taipei
An ambulance arrives as rescuers carry out rescue operations after a TransAsia plane crashed into a river in New Taipei City, February 4, 2015.

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Deputy Minister Wu Mei-hung said yesterday that of the 31 Chinese nationals on Flight GE235, 18 have been confirmed dead.

According to the Central Emergency Operation Center's figures, 18 Chinese passengers succumbed to their injuries and died, three were rescued and rushed to the hospital while 10 are still missing, said Wu.

Families Arrive

Families of Chinese passengers, more than 30 members in total, arrived yesterday afternoon, said Wu.

They were shuttled by bus service to the Taipei Second Funeral Parlor as well as the scene of the accident, said TransAsia.

TransAsia said airline employees accompanied family members, ready to be of any assistance.

Wu said MAC will continue to assist other family members in applying for proper documentation in their travels to Taiwan.

The MAC will also be helping families of flight passengers with medical treatment, funeral arrangements, insurance compensation and other follow-up measures, said Wu.

Chinese Officials Land In Taiwan

MAC Deputy Chairman Lin Chu-chia and Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Lin Join-sane made their way to the funeral hall and visited injured passengers at the hospital, said Wu.

A deputy chairman from the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) will also be arriving in Taiwan, said the SEF Chairman.

Body Identification

Xiamen Tourism Bureau Deputy Minister Chen Guilin and a number of other Chinese officials have arrived in Taiwan to further understand the accident.

Tourism Bureau Deputy Director-General Chang Shi-chung said the bureau has arranged for families to help identify the bodies.

DNA samples will be used to identify bodies that are unrecognizable, said Chang.

Wang-Zhang Meeting Postponed

Due to the TransAsia plane crash, the meeting between MAC Chairman Wang Yu-chi and China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Chairman Zhang Zhijun, scheduled for Feb. 7 and Feb. 8 in Kinmen, has been postponed until further notice, said Wu.

Taiwan and China need to fully concentrate their efforts into handling the aftermath of the TransAsia crash, Wu said.

Another reason for postponing the meeting, Wu said, is that the discussion of Flight M503's four flight paths still needs more work since there has not been any significant progress.

The Kinmen County Government said that they respect and understand the reason for the delayed meeting date.

Avoiding 'Little Three Links'

The government will be introducing in April "high-end tours" for Chinese tourists, that will try to avoid travelling via the "Little Three Links", a flight path between Taiwan and China.

Opened to 5,000 people per month, the tour sets standards of offering lunch and dinner at costs of NT$3,000 (S$128) per person, hotels of four stars or higher and use of tour buses that have operated for less than 3 years.

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