TAIPEI, Taiwan - An unnamed pilot of TransAsia Airways yesterday claimed the pilot of Flight GE235 had requested that maintenance be performed on one of the plane's engines before takeoff, only to have the request ignored, according to local media.
Despite both TransAsia Airways and the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) denying the report, prosecutors have already begun to investigate the claim.
A problem with the engine of the ill-fated plane was said to have been reported by the pilot Liao Chien-tsung after an earlier flight from Kinmen.
The pilot, who wishes to remain anonymous, said Liao asked the ground staff to check if the engine had malfunctioned, but the maintenance request was refused because it would delay the flight schedule and the airline could be fined by the CAA.
After TransAsia Airways and the CAA both denied the report, the maintenance log was made public by TransAsia. The log did not contain any reference to a maintenance request, and the CAA said they didn't receive any notification from TransAsia regarding the claim.
The aircraft's flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder, or "black boxes," were recovered from the wreckage of the plane and sent to the Aviation Safety Council (ASC) for further examination yesterday.
The ASC's Executive Director Thomas Wang said they will attempt to reveal the main cause of the tragedy tomorrow after analysing the recorders.
The investigation will focus on the engine, but the ASC will also examine other factors to determine the true cause of the accident, Wang said.
China to Join Investigation
To ensure a comprehensive probe, Wang said the France-based ATR Company, the manufacturer of the aircraft, has sent six people to aid in the investigation. Three experts from the Canadian engine manufacturer will come to Taiwan today. Wang said they will assist an investigation team from China.
The ASC said it is not unusual for the government to allow experts from mainland China to join the investigation since 31 of the 58 people onboard were from the mainland.