Three passengers were still missing. There were 15 survivors. Thirty one tourists from the Chinese mainland who had just completed visits to Taiwan were also on board the plane bound for Kinmen when the tragedy happened and at least 26 of them died in the crash.

Rescuers found the bodies in waters 500 metres, 600 metres and one km downstream from the crash site. A public memorial ceremony has been scheduled on February 10 in Taipei to mourn the victims of the crash.

The ATR72-600 turboprop passenger plane with 58 passengers and crew on board crashed into the Keelung river in Taipei shortly after takeoff from Songshan Airport in Taipei at 10.52 a.m. on Wednesday.    

The exact cause of the crash remains unclear but initial analysis of the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder by the Aviation Safety Council (ASC) showed the right engine of the plane flashed a warning signal just 37 seconds after takeoff and pilots manually cut the fuel supply to the left engine, leading to a loss of power in both engines before the plane went down.

Thomas Wang, managing director of the ASC, said the pilot announced a "flame-out", which can occur when the fuel supply to the engine is interrupted or when there is faulty combustion. However, Wang said there was in fact no flame-out, and the engine on the right side had shifted into idle mode without any change in oil pressure.

The 72-seater aircraft, manufactured by Franco-Italian firm ATR, is able to fly or take off with just one functioning engine, said Yann Torres of France's aviation accident investigation bureau (BEA) who has joined the investigation.

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