It has been made public that during the fatal crash of TranAsia’s flight GE235, after the first engine failed the pilots on board shut down and then tried to restart the working engine – a move which is believed to have caused the plane to stall and then crash into the Keelung River in Taipei, killing 42 passengers and crew. As a consequence, a number of pilots working for TransAsia were orally tested on what should happen in the event of an engine failing on the turboprop ATR 72-600. The result is that the Civil Aviation Administration has ordered the immediate suspension of 10 pilots who failed the test, and the suspension of another 19 pilots who were unable to be present to take the test.
As speculation mounts that pilot error may well have played a massive part in the accident, Chen Jian-Yu, the Transport and Communications Minister made it clear that: “The lunar Chinese new year holiday is coming… We’ll ask every local airline to check their flight safety.” As we have previously reported, this was the second crash in seven months involving TransAsia, the previous one involving an ATR 72-400. It is also the fifth fatal crash involving TransAsia since 1995, which creates questions about overall safety levels at Taiwan’s third largest airline.
A TransAsia pilot confirmed that the tests had been conducted by a CAA official and also a pilot from Uni Air, a rival carrier and subsidiary of EVA Airways. “Some of us have stayed up all night to prepare for the tests. The result will affect our career developments significantly,” they said. “Those who failed will be suspended for one month. They will be given another month for preparation. If they fail again, they will be fired,” Reuters were told.
Fifteen passengers survived the accident, while one is still sadly missing. TransAsia has cancelled over 142 flights since the crash happened.