TransAsia crash data shows engines shut down

Right engine triggered an alarm 37 seconds after take-off

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Both engines failed on the TransAsia plane that crashed into a river in Taipei this week, killing at least 35 people, but the pilots apparently restarted one of them.

The details were given at a news conference in Taiwan’s capital by Aviation Safety Council executive director Thomas Wang, after a preliminary examination of the black box flight-data and voice recorders.

Flight GE235, an ATR 72-600 turboprop, crashed on Wednesday, minutes after take-off. Fifteen people were rescued, but eight are still missing.

Mr Wang said the right engine triggered an alarm 37 seconds after take-off, but the data showed it had not shut down, or “flamed out”, as the pilot told the control tower, but moved into idle mode, with no change in the oil pressure.


Then, 46 seconds later, the left engine was shut down, so that neither engine was producing any power. A restart was attempted, but the plane crashed 72 seconds later.

Mr Wang said it was too early to draw conclusions about why the first engine ceased producing power. “It’s only the third day so we can’t say too much,”  he said. “We haven’t ruled anything out.” It is unclear why the second engine was shut down, since the plane was able to fly with one engine. A fuller report will be available in 30 days, with a final report expected in three to six months.

The pilot, Liao Chien-tsung, 42, has been praised by Taipei’s Mayor for steering the plane between apartment blocks and commercial buildings before ditching in Keelung River. The bodies of Mr Liao and his co-pilot were retrieved.