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'Total engine failure' in TransAsia crash

February 6, 2015

A Taiwanese official has said a TransAsia Airways plane that crashed on Wednesday suffered failure in both engines. The death toll is rising as more bodies are recovered from the river into which the plane plunged.

Baggages are placed near the wreckage of TransAsia Airways plane Flight GE235 after it crash landed into a river, in New Taipei City February 5, 2015. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang
Image: Reuters/P. Chuang

Aviation Safety Council Executive Director Thomas Wang told a news conference on Friday that the plane's right engine triggered an alarm when it fell idle 37 seconds after take-off, apparently causing one of the pilots to shut down the left engine before unsuccessfully trying to restart both of them.

"That means that during the flight's final moments, neither engine had any thrust," he said.

Wang said, however, that it was too early to give any sure reason why the engines had stopped producing power.

"It's only the third day, so we can't say too much," he said. "We haven't ruled anything out."

The details were presented as preliminary findings based on the flight data recorder of Flight GE235.

The TransAsia Airways ATR 72-600 propjet, carrying 53 passengers and five crew, crashed shortly after take-off from Songshan airport in the capital, Taipei, on Wednesday, hitting an elevated road before it ended up in the Keelung River.

The confirmed death toll from the crash rose to 35 on Friday after four more bodies were recovered. Fifteen survived with injuries, while eight people are still missing.

Thirty-one of the passengers were from China.

Second fatal crash

The crash was the second fatal incident for TransAsia in less than a year, after another ATR 72 came down last July in the outlying Taiwan-controlled islands of Penghu, killing 48 people.

With lawmakers calling for a total suspension of TransAsia's operations, an official from Taiwan's flight regulator CAA said on Friday that the airline had failed to meet many of the requirements demanded of it after the July crash.

Clark Lin, chief of the CAA's Flight Standard Division, said the company had until a June deadline to implement the requirements, after which date it could face punishment.

He also said that the crashed plane had had engine problems on its delivery flight from manufacturer ATR in the French city of Toulouse, with the faulty Pratt and Whitney engine being later replaced by the supplier.

A total of 22 ATR planes from two Taiwanese airlines have been grounded for safety checks following Wednesday's crash.

tj/sms (AP, AFP)