Wrong throttle, said pilot before crash

This file screen grab taken from TVBS Taiwan on Feb 4, 2015, shows a TransAsia ATR 72-600 turboprop plane clipping an elevated motorway and hitting a taxi before crashing in New Taipei City.
This file screen grab taken from TVBS Taiwan on Feb 4, 2015, shows a TransAsia ATR 72-600 turboprop plane clipping an elevated motorway and hitting a taxi before crashing in New Taipei City. PHOTO: AFP

TAIPEI/SINGAPORE • The pilot flying a TransAsia Airways ATR plane mistakenly switched off its only working engine seconds before it crashed in February, killing 43 people, Taiwan's Aviation Safety Council has revealed in a report.

"Wow, pulled back the wrong side throttle," Captain Liao Jian-zong, 41, was heard saying seconds before the crash occurred.

There appeared to have been confusion in the cockpit as the two captains tried to regain control of the plane after one engine lost power about three minutes into the doomed flight.

Capt Liao reduced the throttle on the working engine but did not appear to realise his mistake until it was too late. He tried to restart the engines several times before a junior first officer in the cockpit said: "Impact, impact, brace for impact."

Those were the chilling last words heard on the data recordings, according to the latest report of the council's investigation into the Feb 4 crash.

The council's report yesterday also revealed that Capt Liao had failed simulator training in May last year, in part because he had insufficient knowledge of how to deal with an engine flame-out upon take-off.

A draft of the final report will be issued in November, and the final report, which will include the cause of the crash and recommendations, is to be completed in April next year.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2015, with the headline 'Wrong throttle, said pilot before crash'. Print Edition | Subscribe