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Pilots blamed for TransAsia Airways crash on Taiwan island


Created: 01/29/2016 2:25 AM

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan's aviation authorities have concluded that a plane crash that killed 48 people on a domestic flight was due to pilot error and a failure within the airline to follow safety procedures.

The TransAsia Airways plane crashed on July 23, 2014, in stormy weather trailing a typhoon, killing 44 passengers and four crew members. Ten passengers survived.

Taiwan's Aviation Safety Council said in a report Friday that the crew on Flight GE222 did not realize they were too close to the ground while landing on the island of Penghu and repeatedly failed to follow standard operating procedures during the flight.

It said the captain flew the aircraft too low without first making visual contact with the runway, likely because he was overconfident of his flying skills, and the first officer did not correct his mistake.

Other contributing factors included bad weather that reduced visibility and poor communication of weather information to the flight crew, the council said.

The twin propeller ATR-72 crashed in a residential area about a kilometer (half a mile) from the runway and caught fire. Five people on the ground were injured.

Seven months later, TransAsia Airways had another fatal crash, this time in Taipei shortly after takeoff, killing 43. A preliminary investigation indicated that the pilot mistakenly shut off the remaining working engine after the other one went idle.

Friday's report criticized a "prevalent tolerance for non-compliance with procedures within the airline's ATR fleet."

TransAsia said in a statement that it respected the investigation results, and that it would promote a flight safety culture, including by setting up a safety committee and promoting people with good safety records.

The TransAsia crash was Taiwan's first deadly civil aviation accident since 2002, when a China Airlines plane went down shortly after takeoff, killing 225.

(Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Photo: MGN

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