TAIPEI - The Aviation Safety Council (ASC) yesterday morning announced the results of its investigation into the crash of TransAsia Airlines domestic flight GE222 that suddenly crashed around Hsihsi village on Penghu Island at 7:06 a.m. on July 23, claiming the lives of 48 people and injuring 10.
The flight was headed to Magong and over Penghu Island at approximately 200 meters when the pilot and co-pilot claimed they "could not see the runway." Approximately 17 seconds after being asked if they could see the runway, both pilots responded that it was not visible, while only 72 meters above ground. Both pilots immediately yelled "go around!" 2 seconds after visual contact was lost. Moments later the plane hit the tops of trees and finally crashed into a residential area in Hsihsi Village.
At a press conference yesterday morning, the ASC made public information that the plane's "black box" flight recorder revealed after the plane lost track of its flight path and moved away from the runway, the plane rapidly lost altitude and crashed to the ground in a period of 7.9 seconds. The ASC claimed that by the time the two pilots yelled to go around, there was nothing they could do to change the velocity and altitude of the plane in time to prevent a crash.
Flight GE222, which flew from Kaohsiung to Penghu's Magong Airport on July 23 with 58 passengers (including 4 staff) on board, encountered a sudden lack of visability due to heavy cloud coverage from Typhoon Matmo that passed by earlier in the day.
Weather Conditions Contributed to Crash: ASC
ASC head Wang Hsing-chung stated that there were many factors that played into the cause of the GE222 crash and that the council will continue to conduct appropriate investigation procedures to analyse all causes of the crash. The council estimates that the final report will be completed by June of next year, and that they will make suggestions to prevent any similar incidents from occurring in the future. The English version of their final report should be released in October of next year.
Wang stated that the flight had taken off 34 minutes after being on standby, during which time the pilots requested permission to land on runway 2. The request was denied. Wang explained that Magong Airport's minimum viability limit is 1,600 meters, and that at 7 a.m. visibility dropped due to a passing rainstorm. The airport worked to get all aircraft on the tarmac by 7:03 a.m. Wang confirmed that the weather conditions were definitely a factor contributing to the pilots' loss of control and eventual crash.
The results of the investigation were announced yesterday morning, revealing that up until 44 seconds past 7:05 a.m., GE222 was set on autopilot, and 10 seconds later the plane was brought back up to 176 meters as it missed the approach point. The report indicated that the airport's control tower did not inform the aircraft of local weather conditions. Immediately before the crash there was a brief period of unintelligible sounds that are believed to have been tree branches hitting the body of the plane, the report said.