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Taiwan Airliner's Black Box Shows Pilot May Have Shut Off Wrong Engine

The mangled fuselage of a TransAsia Airways commercial plane is dragged to the river bank after it crashed in Taipei, Taiwan, in February.
The mangled fuselage of a TransAsia Airways commercial plane is dragged to the river bank after it crashed in Taipei, Taiwan, in February.

"Wow, pulled back wrong side throttle."

Those were the words spoken in Chinese on the cockpit voice recorder just eight seconds before a Taiwanese airliner crashed shortly after takeoff, killing 43 people, according to a transcript of the cockpit voice recorder released by investigators.

Dramatic video taken from vehicle dash cameras of the TransAsia Airways Flight 235 crash show the turboprop ATR-72 clipping a van and an elevated roadway before tumbling into the Keelung River near Taipei's Songshan airport in February.

Taiwan's Aviation Safety Council released the CVR transcripts, which reveal the pilot and co-pilot struggling with an engine that flamed out on takeoff. The problem was in the No. 2 engine, but the pilot at the controls announces: "I will pull back Engine One throttle."

The last words on the recorder were the pilot shouting: "Impact, impact. Brace for impact."

Investigators have yet to assign blame for the crash. A final draft report, with causes and recommendations, is expected in November, and the final report is expected to be published in April.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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