At Least 79 Killed in Singapore Airlines Crash

Written by Christina Ward, Staff Writer,, with news reports

The death toll in the crash of Singapore Airlines Flight SQ006 is now 79, according to reports from Taiwan's civil aeronautics administration on Wednesday (Nov. 1). Dozens of others were injured when the Boeing 747-400 crashed at Chiang Kai-shek International Airport near Taipei, Taiwan, at 11:18 p.m. local time. The plane was taking off, due to arrive in Los Angeles at 6:15 p.m. Pacific time.

The plane's flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder were recovered Wednesday morning, CNN reported, and an investigation into the cause of the crash is underway.

Singapore Airlines Flight 006 crashed shortly after takeoff.
Map courtesy of the BBC.

Officials at Singapore Airlines said the flight was carrying 159 passengers and 20 crew: 55 of the passengers were Taiwanese, 47 were Americans, 11 were Singaporeans, 11 were Indians, and the remainder were from assorted other nations. The U.S. State Department said that 22 Americans were among the survivors, although some were hospitalized for injuries, CNN reported.

"The flight commander on board the aircraft reported hitting an object on the takeoff run," Singapore Airlines spokesman James Boyd told the media. He called the crash an "aborted takeoff." Officials said the plane reportedly swerved off the runway and onto a parallel runway, before exploding into flames.

At the time of the crash, Typhoon Xangsane was approaching Taiwan, causing heavy rains and winds up to 90 mph in the area around Taipei.

In an interview with CNN, one survivor described the weather as "absolutely horrendous." Passenger John Diaz said, "I couldn't even believe they were going to take off. It was just getting ready to lift off and it felt like we hit something. And the next thing you know, the whole plane was shaking and sliding. It burst into flames right next to me."

The American Red Cross sent a team of 18 specially trained Aviation Incident Response workers to Los Angeles to assist families of passengers on the Singapore Airlines Flight. The team joins dozens of Los Angeles-based Red Cross disaster relief workers to provide emotional support and assistance.

Witnesses said the plane hit something on the runway before bursting into flames.
Photo courtesy of TVBS.

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