TransAsia death toll creeps up as more bodies found

2015-02-07 18:21
Aviation staff inspect the wreckage of the TransAsia ATR 72-600 turboprop plane on the Keelung river outside Taiwan's capital Taipei in New Taipei City. (Sam Yeh, AFP)

Aviation staff inspect the wreckage of the TransAsia ATR 72-600 turboprop plane on the Keelung river outside Taiwan's capital Taipei in New Taipei City. (Sam Yeh, AFP)

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Taipei - More bodies were found on Saturday following a plane crash earlier in the week in Taipei, bringing the confirmed death toll to 40, according to the Civil Aeronautics Administration, as investigators revealed their initial findings.

TransAsia Airways flight GE235 crashed into the Keelung river shortly after takeoff on Wednesday from Taipei's Songshan Airport with 58 people on board.

The accident also injured a taxi driver and passenger on a bridge, the Central News Agency reported.

Four bodies were found between 100m and 1km downstream from the crash site, according to the Taipei City Fire Department.

One of the bodies was in TransAsia Airways uniform and it was soon identified as a 26-year-old female crew member Yeh Jia-jing.

A total of 828 rescuers, including 158 divers, continued to search for missing victims in the river, Taipei Fire Department interim chief Wu Chun-hung said.


Taiwan's Aviation Safety Council said on Friday that the twin-engine ATR 72 turboprop lost power in the air.

The aircraft crashed about three and half minutes after takeoff, an initial examination of the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder suggested.

The pilots attempted to restart the engines but failed, Aviation Safety Council chief Thomas Wang said.

Wang said investigators were not yet able to tell why the engines shut down.

A full analysis of the plane's flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder is still months away.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration revealed Friday that the ATR 72 fleet of Taiwan's TransAsia Airways had a history of engine failures -five in the past five years - before the crash in Taipei.

Following its second deadly accident in seven months, the airline said Friday that "71 pilots on its fleet of 10 ATR planes will be required to do a test by the Civil Aeronautics Administration and a professional unit to make sure they are all qualified for their jobs".

Aviation authority director Lin Chih-ming said that the testing, launched on Saturday afternoon, would take four days. Forty percent of the airline's regular flights would be affected.

Read more on:    transasia  |  air travel

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