Netizens yesterday expressed gratitude to pilots of the ill-fated TransAsia Airways Flight GE235, saying that a study of the plane’s flight history suggested that the pilots tried to fly along the river to avoid crashing in residential areas.
While what caused the plane to crash into the Keelung River (基隆河) was still being investigated by authorities, many netizens on Professional Technology Temple (PTT) — the nation’s largest academic online bulletin board — commended what they said was “skillful maneuvering” by pilot Liao Chien-tsung (廖建宗) and copilots Liu Tzu-chung (劉自忠) and Hung Ping-chung (洪炳衷).
According to a screenshot taken from Flightradar24.com, a live flight-tracking Web site, and posted by a netizen going by the username JimmyMcNulty, the plane — despite swerving sharply immediately after it took off from Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 10:52am — was brought close to the course of the river.
Source: Professional Technology Temple
After another sharp swerve, the pilots, apparently aware of an imminent crash, once again directed the plane over the river, where it crashed, JimmyMcNulty said.
The Web site’s record of the flight indicated that the aircraft’s altitude plummeted from 381m at 10:53am to 91m in less than one minute, just seconds before the documentation ended.
Netizens on PTT interpreted the initial swerve as the aircraft deviating from its course and lauded the pilots’ handling of the crisis.
“You can tell from the flight’s course that the pilots tried to avoid hitting residential areas by staying close to the waterway,” a netizen named eddieyu said in a comment.
“The results would have been more unimaginable if the plane had fallen in the city or crashed into the commercial building nearby,” another with the username snow730 said.
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