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Taiwan in shock after TransAsia flight GE222 crash

Taiwanese authorities have defended their decision to allow TransAsia flight GE222 to fly in bad weather, as angry relatives question if that is what caused the plane to crash.

PENGHU: Explosions, followed by a deathly silence - the TransAsia plane crash is still fresh in the mind of 30-year-old Chiu Hau Kai. He lives about 100 meters from the area where flight GE222 crashed on Wednesday.

Mr Chiu said: "When we saw the fire, we thought thunder had struck a car or a house. But later, we heard it was a plane crash. First, we heard an explosion followed by people screaming. In ten minutes, there was a second explosion, then there was no more sound."

As a local resident on Penghu island, he said the flight should not have taken off given the weather conditions that day.

At the crash site, local firefighters have brought in a digger to cut up the wreckage into smaller pieces for removal. It could take days before the clean up is completed.

Chiu Hau Yu, a Defence Ministry commander in Penghu, said: "The Aviation Safety Council is conducting an investigation into the cause of the crash. Large machineries have been deployed to break the wreckage into smaller pieces. Once the investigation is completed, we'll to go in and remove the rest of the debris."

The wreckage can be removed, but the pain of losing their loved ones remains - grieving family members have come to the crash site to pay their respects. Led by Buddhist monks, they were there to perform a religious ceremony to pacify the victims' souls. Many were calling out the names of their loved ones, wishing for their return.

It was a painful scene as friends and relatives struggle to accept the reality that their loved ones will never come back again. 

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