TAIPEI (dpa) – Taiwan was to hold a day of mourning Tuesday for victims of the TransAsia Airways crash last week, officials said.
“We’ve notified all government agencies across the country to fly the national flag at half-mast tomorrow to mourn for the victims,” Cabinet spokesman Sun Lih-chyun told reporters Monday.
Tuesday marked the seventh day since the Flight GE235 crashed into the Keelung river shortly after takeoff from Taipei’s Songshan Airport with 58 people on board. A taxi driver and passenger were also injured when the plane clipped a bridge before hitting the water.
Forty people were confirmed dead by Monday, with 15 survivors.
Search teams on Monday used metal detectors to try to locate three still-missing male passengers in the river by their watches or belt buckles, state-run Central News Agency reported.
Some families called out the names of the missing along the banks and spread “ghost money” into the river, the agency said.
The offerings of reproduction votive banknotes are intended to appease any spirits that might be distracting the souls of the deceased, that they might remember where there bodies are, allowing the salvage team to locate them.
Many East Asians believe the souls of the departed return on the seventh day after death to bid a final farewell to loved ones.
Several religious ceremonies held by TransAsia Airways, with the assistance of Taipei City Government, were launched Monday morning ahead of the beginning of the day of mourning at midnight. The bodies of three Chinese victims, accompanied by their families, returned home to Xiamen in Fujian Province by Mandarin Airlines early Monday, according to Taipei City Government.