TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Aviation Safety Council (ASC) yesterday released the contents of the "black boxes" belonging to the crashed TransAsia Airways plane GE235, saying that both engines failed within minutes of each other, resulting in the accident.
The audio recording of the cockpit's last moments was described in the press conference by ASC Managing Director Wang Hsing-chung, who pointed out that all engine malfunctions and actions taken by the crew happened at intervals that lasted only seconds. The entire incident occurred within three to four minutes, with the failure of both plane engines happening in less than two minutes.
After the main control tower gave GE235 the clear signal to take off at 10.51 am, it received a request from the plane to contact the Taipei control tower at 10.52, said Wang.
Two Engines Fail within Seconds of Each Other
Five seconds after the call, the master warning call was heard in the plane cabin, prompting the crew to retract its engine no. 1 and begin discussing the procedure for stalling the engines. Six seconds later, at 10.53.06 am, the crew once again suggested retracting engine no. 1 and confirmed that engine no. 2 had died as well.
In the six seconds that followed, the first stall warning sound was heard in the cockpit, and the crew announced that engine no. 1 had been feathered - the automatic setting to keep planes from losing altitude when the fuel is cut off - and the fuel supply shut off; two seconds later, another stall warning rang out, and the second engine stopped receiving fuel.
At 10.53.54 am, the crew contacted the control tower with the message, "Mayday, mayday. Engine flame out." Fifteen seconds later, the crew called to restart the engine several times, and the second master warning sound was heard in the plane at 10.54.34 am, said Wang, who pointed out that the plane had begun to lose speed and altitude at this point.
Only 0.4 seconds later, an unidentified sound was heard in the audio recording, and the flight data recording stopped at 10.54.36 am, said Wang.
Another Four Bodies Recovered
The rescue work for the missing passengers has gone on long after the debris and body of the GE235 were recovered from Keelung River, and yesterday rescuers and divers announced that they have found another four bodies in the water.
Two of the bodies found were young boys who were said to be brothers of rescue workers.
"We fear that there will be more (passengers) caught in the river bends from when they were flung out of the plane as it crashed," said a civilian rescuer surnamed Chen.
Another eight passengers are still missing as of press time.