TransAsia Pilot’s Heroic Maneuver to Avoid Buildings

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( — February 4, 2015)  — TransAsia Flight GE235 with 58 passengers from Taipei to Kinmen crashed into a river less than 3 minutes after departure from Taipei. The rescuers managed to pull at least 16 survivors out of the floating remains.

The plane was an ATR 72-600, registration B-22816, which was a delivered to the airline, new, in 2014, according to

According to, Flight GE 235’s GPS chart shows the plane began loosing speed immediately after take off. The GPS chart also displays the plane’s continual climb, even when its speed was decreasing. Aviator experts say the ATR pilots probably struggled to gain more altitude so they could find a safe location to attempt to land the plane.

While losing airspeed directly above the city, the pilot was able to glide the plane to the river thereby avoiding a crash in a heavily populated area.  The pilot pitched the airplane nose slightly down to regain airspeed and then picked a spot to land/crash, preferably away from buildings and people, to glide the plane to ground.

The crash was recorded by a vehicle onboard camera.  The footage is dramatic and the airplane maintained a glide while banking until the plane’s wing hit the bridge.  The hard bank was caused by the pilots attempting to glide the plane to the river.     

Experts attest to the pilot’s quick thinking and training when he effectively crashed the plane into the only unpopulated area, the river.  Aviator experts say the pilot and first officer steered the plain towards the river to avoid hitting some of the buildings below. The experts base their claims because the plain was turned sideways as if the pilots were desperately trying to avoid buildings while maneuvering towards the river. But the aircraft was too low and there was a bridge dead ahead. As the plane banked almost 90 degree, all was lost, however, but the fall was directed towards river. When the right wing hit the bridge, only by pure luck, it missed traffic.

A famous example of this feat is the landing of the jet plane on the Hudson River in New York six years ago.

Investigators will determine the cause of the crash after examining the airplane remains and analyzing flight recorder data. ATR 72 has two turbo-prop engines and is capable of flying with only one engine, experts say.

According to Reuters, Taiwan regulators are likely to put more pressure on TransAsia Airways to review its maintenance and safety procedures because this was the second twin-prop engine ATR plane to crash in seven months. Furthermore, industry data reveals that TransAsia Airlines has lost five aircraft since 1995, which is the highest recorded plane crash rate for an airline in aviation history.

Seven months ago, a TransAsia ATR 72-500 airplane crashed while trying to land at Penghu Island, killing 48 of the 58 passengers and crew.

Regarding TransAsia Flight GE 235 and according to flight-follow chart, the airplane’s speed began to vary during its climb after take off. At approximately 1400 feet, the airplane lost speed and stalled. From that point, only several minutes after take off, the airplane began its unrecoverable dive towards ground.

This was the fourth ATR plane crash in TransAsia Airline’s history, according to data from Flightglobal Ascend, an industry consultancy.

The ATR 72 is a twin-engine turboprop short-haul regional airliner built by the French-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR. A stretched variant of the ATR 42, the aircraft seats up to 74 passengers in a single-class configuration, and is operated by a two-pilot crew.