Taiwan’s Aviation Safety Council (ASC) has confirmed that the captain of a TransAsia Airways ATR mistakenly switched off the plane’s only working engine seconds before it crashed leading to the death of 43 people on board, including the pilot and co-pilot.
The latest report by Taiwan’s Aviation Safety Council on the February crash of the ATR 72-600 aircraft confirms that the captain of the aircraft mistakenly switched off the plane’s working engine after the other lost power. The turboprop aircraft capable of flying with one engine ended up crashing into the shallow river.
The report after an initial assessment of crash is relying heavily on the cockpit recorder which was recovered after the plane crashed in the Keelung River in Taipei. The detailed breakdown of the conversation heard on the cockpit voice recorder between the flying pilot and the co-pilot suggested that the captain is heard saying he pulled back the wrong side throttle while the aircraft was at 309ft (94m), flying at a speed of 105 knots (120mph). This is further supported by flight data that showed that the plane stalled and crashed shortly after the working engine was switched off.
The plane, which had taken off from Taipei’s Songshan airport, was carrying 53 passengers and three crew members and two flight attendants. Fifteen people escaped the aircraft alive.
The ASC would furnish the final draft in November with complete information on causes and recommendations for the future. The final report will be published next April.