The 42-year-old pilot of the doomed TransAsia Airways plane is being hailed a hero after it was revealed that he had tried all he could to avoid the plane crash. According to Business Insider, the body of the pilot identified as Liao Chien-tsung was found still holding on to the aircraft’s joystick inside the cockpit – indicating that he was trying to control the aircraft until the moment of impact. It was an emotional moment for the rescue personnel who finally extricated Liao’s body from the crashed plane.
“They were still trying to save this aircraft until the last minute,” Taiwanese media quoted unidentified prosecutors who are investigating the crash.
Even though Liao was unable to save the lives of 31 people who were on board the plane, 15 people managed to live through the TransAsia plane crash and survived. Twelve people, however, still remain missing. It is now being said that Liao also ensured that the plane did not crash into buildings in Taipei and deliberately steered the plane towards the river to minimize casualties. According to officials, the pilot and the co-pilot’s legs were badly broken – probably due to the impact of the crash.
Authorities have also managed to recover the all-important black box of the plane and are investigating the cause that brought down this relatively brand new aircraft. Initial reports say that they have already managed to recover audio transcripts of the pilot from within the aircraft, moments after it lost control. The pilot reportedly called for help and shouted “Mayday, mayday, engine flameout” soon after the plane took off, reports USA Today. A flameout usually happens when fuel supply to the engines stops for some reason and causes the plane to stall, lose airspeed, and eventually crash. From the horrific dashcam videos of the crash, it is evident that the TransAsia plane had stalled and that the pilots were trying to control the aircraft.
It was earlier this week on Wednesday that the doomed TransAsia Flight GE235 took off from Taipei Songshan International airport on a short haul flight to Kinmen. The flight ran into trouble moments after it took off. First, the air traffic control lost track of the plane after it flew low across the Taipei skyline. Then, eyewitnesses told that they saw a plane wavering across apartment blocks and commercial buildings before dashcam videos captured the final plunge of the aircraft as it crashed into the river. In the video, the plane is seen stalling and turning upside down, which is how it eventually crashed into the water. One of its wingtips also clipped a taxi on the bridge, injuring the driver.
The aircraft involved in this TransAsia Airways crash was an ATR 72-600 Turboprop plane that was powered by twin Pratt & Whitney PW127M engines. It is unclear if both of the engines suffered a flameout because, even with one engine disabled, the plane could still fly. Most of the people aboard the plane were tourists from mainland China. Meanwhile, regulators in Taiwan have ordered TransAsia to ground all of its ATR aircraft and check all of them for issues with engine and fuel systems to avoid another tragedy. In 2014, another TransAsia ATR aircraft crashed in stormy weather, killing 48 people
[Image via NY Daily News.]