The ATR72 was converted into Freighter in Feb 2002. All-cargo operation between Taipei and Macau starts Feb 26, 2002. The ATR72F holds 6.5tonnes of cargo, daily flight.
The plane's last check was November 28. Roll-out in 1992.
The ATR72-200F is registered B22708. The pilot, transferred from military, flew 14214hrs, the co-pilot is trained by Transasia Airways, flew 4549hrs.
The flight, GE079, carried roughly around 6.4tonnes and departed at 0105LT. Plane went missing from radar around 0149LT, about 14knots Southwest of Makung, altitude around 18000m.
There are now reports saying a JAL plane has received the rescue signal when flying over Taiwan Strait near Tainan, few knots near the missing site.
It is believed at this stage that it was the weather problem, as the ATR was flying through a thunderstorm area.
Taiwan has asked France and Canada for investigation help.