TransAsia crash result of 'human error'

PHOTO: Reuters

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Aviation Safety Council (ASC) blamed bad airline management as a primary cause of the TransAsia Airways flight GE222 crash, which killed 48 passengers and injured 10 more in 2014.

According to the final investigation report, released Friday, the main causes of the incident were staff neglect of proper procedures and rough weather.

A typhoon was sweeping across Taiwan on the day of the accident.

The flight was heading from Kaohsiung City to Magong Airport, Penghu on July 23, 2014. The pilot failed to make a smooth forced landing and crashed near the airport with a total of 54 passengers and four crew members on board.

ASC Executive Director Thomas Wang, after he had personally inspected the firm, said he discovered that many employees - not only the pilot - neglected standard operation procedures. This implies that the firm was not effective in its security management, stressed Wang.

The report stated that safety commitments made by the company's senior management are dubious.

Pilot Overworked

Investigators suspected the captain was "too confident" in his ability to land. In addition, according to the results of a pilot-fatigue test, the captain was overworked before the crash occurred.

Aviation weather forecasts released by Magong Airport were not conducted according to guidelines in the Air Force Handbook, added investigators, saying ground traffic controllers might have affected the judgment of the pilots.

The council also stated that the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) failed to identify that TransAsia has a history of overlooking its employees' disregard for proper procedures.

In the report, investigators urged the CAA to set up a more comprehensive system to monitor the airline company's procedures and personnel records.

TransAsia Promised Change

Responding to the council's report on Friday, TransAsia stated that it respects the investigation results and will continue to humbly listen to the views of the public.

TransAsia Chairman Vincent Lin stressed that "flight safety first" is the common goal of the firm's staff.

The company has launched a reform plan to strengthen its performance in five aspects, said Lin. It will co-operate with international experts, who have been brought in to monitor company operations and promote a company culture that emphasizes flight safety.

The company is also upgrading technology and redesigning management strategies in hopes of rebuilding public trust, stressed Lin.

The plane had been in use for 13 years, TransAsia staff previously said. It was in the hands of pilot Lee Yi-liang, who had 22 years of experience and nearly 23,000 flying hours on his record, and co-pilot Chiang Kuan-hsing, who had two-and-a-half years of experience and less than 2,400 flying hours.

President Ma Ying-jeou said that the day the accident occurred was "a very sad day in the history of Taiwanese aviation."