A preliminary investigation into a Taiwanese plane crash that killed 43 people has revealed the pilot switched off the functioning engine after experiencing issues with the other one.
Flight GE235 crashed into the Keelung River, minutes after taking off from Taipei's Songshan Airport on 4 February.
Taiwan's aviation regulator has published a first report into the incident, which, despite not apportioning blame, provided fresh details about the circumstances that caused the ATR-72 aircraft to come down.
Minutes after take-off, a technical failure affected one engine's capacity, sparking a flame-out warning in the cockpit, Taiwan's Aviation Safety Council said. The aircraft is designed to be able to fly on one engine in normal conditions.
A breakdown of the conversation between the pilot and his co-pilot, who both lost their lives in the crash, revealed the captain reacted by pulling back on the other engine's throttle.
"Wow, pulled back the wrong side throttle," the captain said.
Taiwan's Aviation Safety Council executive director Thomas Wang said normally pilots would throttle back to cut the flamed-out engine, not the functioning one.
"If engine two has flamed-out, you would shut off engine two, that's normal logic," Wang said.
Officials also revealed the captain had recently failed a flight simulator test, colleagues describing him as "a little nervous during line operations", and as a person having "a tendency of rushing to perform the procedures without coordination with the (co-pilot)", AP reported.
Fourteen passengers and one cabin crew survived the crash, most with serious injuries. Two people on the ground were also wounded.
The plane could be seen narrowly missing apartment buildings before lurching on one side over a bridge, clipping it with its left wing, in spectacular footage captured by the dashboard camera of a passing vehicle.
A full report into the investigation is expected to be completed by April 2016.
Here you can read a breakdown of the moments prior to the incident as published in the preliminary report.
ATC Time 1051:39
GE 235 began take off roll.
Pilot Monitoring (PM) called: "No ATPCS armed", and Pilot Flying (PF) replied: "Ok, continue take off."
(ATPCS: Automatic Take-off Power Control System)
PM called: "Oh, there it is ATPCS armed."
The aircraft lifted off and climbed out. Autopilot was engaged after take off check completed. The aircraft turned right after 1,000 ft.
After climbing to 1,200 ft. master warning sounded. Engine and Warning Display (EWD) showed "ENG2 FLAME OUT AT TAKE OFF" procedures.
PF disengaged autopilot while the flight was climbing to 1,300 ft.
PF announced: " I will pull back engine one throttle," and PM replied: "Wait a second, cross check". At this moment ENG1 PLA (Power Lever Angle) record indicated a reduction from 75 degrees to 66 degrees.
PM replied: "Ok, engine flame-out check," and continued announcing: "Check up trim, yes, auto feather yes."
PF said: "Pull back number one," and ENG1 PLA record showed a reduction to 49 degrees. Meanwhile, PM said: "OK, now number two engine flame-out confirmed."
PF relied: "OK." However, ENG1 PLA remained at 49 degrees. The aircraft reached its highest altitude of 1,630 ft. and started to descend at 102 knots.
Stall warning sounded with stick shakers activated. PM called: "OK, push push back."
PF said: "Shut" and PM replied: "Wait a second throttle throttle." Between 1053:13 and 1053:15, ENG2 PLA was advanced to 86 deg. and ENG1 PLA was retarded to 34.5 deg. (idle position.)
PF said: "Number one," followed by "feather shut off". Meanwhile, PM said "number feather". Stall warning revived and stick pusher was in effect until 1053:27.
PM said: "OK," and PF said: "Uh, number one."
ENG1 Condition Lever (CL) was in fuel shut off position. Six seconds later ENG1 propellers were in feather position.
PM declared emergency on engine flame-out to Songshan tower. Between 1053:46 and 1054:04 PF attempted to reengaged autopilot twice but failed. The aircraft stalled again during the time.
PM sai:d "Both sides lost." Two seconds later PM said: "No engine flame-out. We lost both sides."
PF announced: "Restart the engine," while the aircraft was at 545 ft with speed at 105 knots.
ENG1 CL was advanced from fuel shut off position.
PM said: "Cannot restart it," while the aircraft was at 401 ft. with speed 106 knots. ENG1 NH1 speed recorded an increase to 30%.
PF said: "Wow, pulled back the wrong side throttle," while aircraft was at 309 ft. with speed 105 knots.
"Pull-up," warning issued by Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS) sounded. The aircraft was at 83 ft. with speed 108 knots.
At an altitude of 55 ft. with a speed of 106 knots, the aircraft increased its left bank from 10 deg. to 80 deg. and its left wing collided with a taxi driving on an elevated expressway at the left bank of Keelung River. The left wing continued to hit the fence of the expressway as well as a light pole, before it crashed into the Keelung River.
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