Taiwan officials say pilot in crash throttled down working engine; colleagues

Almost four months after TransAsia Airways Flight GE235 crashed in Taiwan’s capital city of Taipei shortly after takeoff, the country’s Aviation Safety Council has confirmed that the pilot accidentally shut off the plane’s working engine after the other lost power.


Eight seconds before the crash, Taiwan’s aviation safety council report states, the pilot said in Chinese: “Wow, pulled back wrong throttle”.

The ASC report aims to paint a more detailed picture than the preliminary report released days after the crash.

The pilot of a TransAsia plane switched off its only working engine seconds before it crashed and killed 43 people.

Dramatic footage from a nearby motorway in Taipei showed the plane flipping over, narrowly missing nearby buildings and clipping the motorway and a taxi as it crashed into the Keelung River just minutes after taking off from Taipei Songshan Airport.

The 64-year-old airline had no immediate comment on the Aviation Safety Council’s findings, but a company publicist said officials may make a statement later Thursday.

The pilot is heard saying: “Wow, pulled back the wrong side throttle,” in the cockpit recording, but the ASC doesn’t assign blame for the crash.

Sources familiar with the investigation have previously told Reuters the crash was probably caused by human error. The ATR 72-600 turboprop is created to fly on one engine if one of the two engines shut down. “That’s the main task for our (final) analysis report”, said Mr Wang over Mr Liao’s decision to pull back the throttle on Engine One.

The captain and a co-pilot are heard checking the malfunctioning engine and adjusting the power in the other, but both didn’t immediately notice that it had also been shut down by mistake. During flights, he “had a tendency of rushing to perform the procedures without coordination with the (co-pilot)”, another pilot said.

All but one of the pilots passed the tests, and the lone failure was demoted in rank to vice captain from captain.

“That is why the focus of the investigation has been narrowed to the pilots and pilot training at TransAsia“, the source added. A final report is expected in April 2016.


Reports: A draft of the final report will be issued in November.

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