INCREDIBLE DASH CAM CAPTURES LAST MOMENTS OF TAIWAN PLANE CRASH MOMENTS BEFORE HITTING THE WATER! AMAZING ACTION GIF!
Taiwan Plane Crashes Into River
TransAsia Plane Loses Control; More Than Two Dozen Killed
A TransAsia Airways plane with 58 people on board lost control and clipped a bridge seconds before it crashed into a river in Taipei. The WSJ's Diana Jou has the details.
By JENNY W. HSU , FANNY LIU and ARIES POON
Updated Feb. 4, 2015
TAIPEI—More bodies were discovered in TransAsia Flight 235’s fuselage after it was lifted from the Keelung River late Wednesday, while rescue workers continued with their search efforts after the plane crashed shortly after takeoff.
Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration said early Thursday that 31 people were dead and 15 people were injured. The plane was carrying 53 passengers and five cabin crew.
The agency said earlier Wednesday that the control tower lost communication with the pilots four minutes after the takeoff from Taipei’s Songshan Airport. The plane was en route to Kinmen, an outlying island near China’s mainland, around 10:53 a.m. local time. Many of the passengers were mainland Chinese tourists.
The black-box data recorder was recovered Wednesday and authorities were beginning to decode it. The Aviation Safety Council, which is in charge of the investigation, declined to give an estimated time of when an initial report would be released. In the past, a preliminary analysis from the recorder has taken anywhere from days to weeks.
Dramatic images taken by drivers with dashboard cameras of the plane, a low-flying ATR-72 turboprop, as it clipped an overpass before plunging into a river were ubiquitous on social media within hours of the crash, sparking heated discussions and messages of condolence.
The crash adds to fears about air safety in Asia following several aviation disasters in the region in 2014.
The most recent had been the crash of AirAsia Flight 8501, which went down in the Java Sea on Dec. 28 after taking off from Surabaya, Indonesia, on its way to Singapore, killing all 162 people on board. Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of that crash. Last year also saw the still-unsolved disappearance in March of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which carried 239 people when it veered thousands of miles off course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Authorities are still searching for that missing plane in two broad areas of the Indian Ocean. The region was also devastated by the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over eastern Ukraine in July, in territory controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
Air traffic in Asia has increased rapidly in recent years, making it the world’s biggest aviation market, but the growth has been a struggle for some safety regulators, airlines and governments. Over the past five years, the number of passengers carried annually in the Asia-Pacific region has jumped by two-thirds to more than 1 billion, surpassing Europe and North America and accounting for 33% of the global total in 2013.
The fast expansion of aircraft fleets and the strain on pilot-training systems have added to potential safety risk. Since 2010, Asian carriers have been involved in four of the five events with the most fatalities, according to the independent Aviation Safety Network.
Rescuers used a crane to lift the aircraft’s fuselage from the river, local TV footage shows. The plane’s body was broken into two pieces, with the cockpit more severely damaged than the cabin. Rescue workers also used rubber dinghies to carry the survivors and bodies to the shore.
Taiwan’s aviation authority and TransAsia haven’t suggested possible causes for the crash, the airline’s second fatal accident in less than a year. “We are also very eager to find out why this happened to such a new aircraft,” TransAsia Chief Executive Peter Chen said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. Mr. Chen also pledged compensation to the victims, but didn’t provide further details.
According to the carrier, the plane was delivered last April. During the time of delivery, one of the engines was found to be functioning improperly, and a replacement was immediately provided.
The plane was made by France’s Avions de Transport Regional, a joint venture between Airbus Group NV and Italy’s Finmeccanica SpA.
ATR has sold nearly 1,500 aircraft and has more than 180 operators in more than 90 countries, according to the company’s website. One of its turboprops takes off every 15 seconds, it says. The company manufactures two sizes of turboprop aircraft, the 70-seat ATR 72 and the 50-seat ATR 42.
ATR, as it is known, in a statement Wednesday said it would advise French authorities, who would work with Taiwan air-safety investigators, according to International Civil Aviation Organization regulations.
Taiwan’s CAA said Wednesday it has asked TransAsia to conduct thorough checks of its 10 ATR-72 planes before they are allowed to take off again. Twelve other ATR-72 planes in Taiwan, all operated by EVA Airway’s unit Uni Air , are also asked to be checked before flying, the CAA said.