TransAsia Airways evacuated more than 140 passengers from one of its flights to Macau yesterday after the airline received a warning that the plane might crash before takeoff.
The airline’s spokesperson Lin Chun-er (林群兒) said the flight, No. GE353, was scheduled to depart for Macau from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport at 12:50pm.
However, the company received an e-mail about the flight at 11:14am in its online reservation department that said: “Hope there is a plane crash.”
The department later received another e-mail from the same sender, saying the original e-mail had been sent to the wrong person.
Airport staff reacted quickly by informing the Aviation Police Department as soon as the e-mail was received, Lin said.
She added that the sender was identified as a male passenger on board the threatened plane, surnamed Liu (劉), who was accompanied by two of his friends.
All three were asked to disembark from the plane and were later interrogated by the aviation police.
Meanwhile, the airline evacuated the remaining 141 passengers, two captains and five flight attendants on board, following standardized operating procedures. The aircraft was then towed to the airport’s explosion-proof section for further inspection.
“The information we have received so far is that the person in question appeared to be having a verbal dispute with his wife, who then sent the e-mail through her husband’s account,” Lin said.
Lin added that the same aircraft would be used to fly passengers to Macau in the future if it passed the safety inspection, adding that the company is considering seeking compensation from the passenger who sent the e-mail for the financial losses caused by the incident.