Two French nationals killed in airline tragedy

A local resident walks past the tail section of TransAsia Airways flight GE222 as rescue workers and firefighters search through the wreckage the morning after it crashed near the airport at Magong on the Penghu island chain on July 24, 2014.

TAIPEI - France's representative office in Taiwan yesterday confirmed that two French nationals were killed in a TransAsia Airways plane crash that occurred on the offshore island of Penghu Wednesday evening. The two French nationals were females, both aged 23, and they were visiting Taiwan as part of a student exchange programme, the French Institute in Taipei said yesterday.

They were French medical students currently staying in Taiwan for a one-month exchange programme with a local university, the office said.

The two victims are identified as Jeromine Deramond and Penelope Luternauer, it noted.

Wu Ming-shiang (吳明賢), head of NTU's College of Medicine yesterday confirmed that the two victims were exchange students from France who applied to undergo a one-month internship programme at NTU's College of Medicine.

The two had just concluded the programme a week ago and had already packed to leave the country. The school authorities did not know that the pair had planned to visit Penghu, he noted.

NTU Secretary-General Lin Ta-te (林達德) added that the two French nationals are students of Universite Catholique de Lille. They reported to NTU on June 9 for a six-week internship programme and officially concluded the programme on July 18.

NTU has confirmed their identities after establishing contact with the Universite Catholique de Lille yesterday morning, Lin noted.

The families of the two victims have received notification and are currently making preparations to come to Taiwan to take care of the aftermath of the tragedy, Lin added.

In a French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development statement released yesterday by the French Institute in Taipei, the French government has expressed its condolences to the families of the two French nationals and the Taiwanese people that were killed during the crash.

"We are saddened to learn of the accident resulting from an emergency landing, leaving many passengers dead," the ministry's statement said.

The French government has been keeping close contact with the victims' families to offer all necessary assistance, it added.

The French office in Taipei also said in a statement that it "expresses deep condolences to the families of the Taiwanese and French victims." It expressed gratitude to the Taiwanese authorities for helping it obtain information on the accident.

MOFA's Assistance

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday said it has been keeping close contact with the French Institute in Taipei after it learned of the crash on Wednesday evening.

Taiwan's representative office in Paris has also established contact with French authorities following the tragedy.

The ministry will offer all kinds of assistance to the families of the victims should they ask for help, MOFA spokeswoman Anna Kao (高安) said yesterday.