Pilot Shut Down Wrong Engine


TAIWAN: Pilots at Taiwan’s TransAsia Airways are being tested on how they handle an engine failure and subsequent emergency, days after the fatal crash of one of the airline’s ATR 72-600s, an official from the country’s aviation regulator said.

Initial data from the flight recorders indicates the plane lost power in one engine just after take-off from Taipei’s Songshan airport, Taiwan’s Aviation Safety Council (ASC) said on Friday.

The crew then shut down the other engine, which was working, and attempted to restart it shortly before the aircraft crashed into a river killing at least 40 people.

Commercial aircraft can fly with just one working engine, and the authorities have not released any information from the recorders that indicates why the pilots shut down the working engine.

They said on Friday, however, that a combined loss of thrust caused the almost new aircraft to stall soon after take-off. The aircraft then lurched over buildings and banked sharply to the left before crashing upside down in the shallow river.

Officials in Taiwan and industry analysts say evidence presented so far raises questions over whether the crew may have accidentally cut the wrong engine.

“There must have been something wrong with what the crew did,” said a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) official, who did not want to be identified due to the sensitivity of the matter.