'Wow, pulled back the wrong throttle' - crash pilot
The pilot flying a TransAsia Airways ATR mistakenly switched off the plane's only working engine seconds before it crashed on February 4, killing 43 people, Taiwan's Aviation Safety Council (ASC) said in its latest report yesterday.
The ASC's report also showed that Captain Liao Jian-zong had failed simulator training in May 2014, in part because he had insufficient knowledge of how to deal with an engine flame-out on take-off.
"Wow, pulled back the wrong side throttle," Liao (41), was heard to say on voice recordings seconds before the crash, when the two captains tried to regain control of the plane after one engine lost power about three minutes into the doomed flight.
Liao reduced the throttle on the working engine but did not appear to realise his mistake until it was too late.
He tried to restart the engines several times before a junior first officer in the cockpit said: "Impact, impact, brace for impact."
Those were the chilling last words heard on the data recordings.
Seconds later the almost new ATR 72-600, which had 58 people on board, crashed upside down into a shallow river in Taipei after it lurched between buildings, clipping an overpass and a taxi.
Fifteen people survived but all three pilots and 40 passengers and other crew died.
Liao, a former air force pilot, began flying commercial aircraft in 2009 and joined TransAsia the following year. He was promoted to captain in August 2014 and had a total of 4,914 flight hours on ATR 72 planes. However, the report showed that Liao failed the simulator check in May 2014 when he was being evaluated for promotion.