A rescue operation is underway after a Taiwanese aircraft clipped a bridge and crashed into a river near the capital of Taipei killing at least eight people.

Fifty-eight passengers and crew were on board the domestic TransAsia Airways flight, with a number of people reportedly injured.

The ATR-72 turboprop had just taken off from Taipei Songshan airport for the outlying Kinmen islands, just off the coast of southeast China, Taiwan’s Central News Agency reported.

Flight controllers lost contact with the aircraft at 10.55am local time.

Teams of peopole were seen alongside the aircraft trying to rescue about 30 passengers still trapped inside as it lay almost submerged in the Keelung river.

Footage of the aircraft, apparently filmed from inside passing cars, showed it banking sharply and clipping the bridge before crashing into the river.

CNA quoted a government spokesman as saying the aircraft had hit an elevated bridge.

Television images showed rescuers standing on sections of broken wreckage trying to pull passengers out with ropes.

Those that were rescued were helped into dinghies and taken to shore.

Out of the 58 people on board, 53 were believed to be passengers and five crew. Thirty-one of the passengers were tourists from mainland China, the BBC reported.

Forty-eight people died last July when a TransAsia Airways aircraft crashed during stormy weather in Taiwan’s Penghu archipelago.