Singapore Airlines yesterday sacked the two pilots who were controlling a jumbo jet that crashed at CKS International Airport two years ago, killing 83 people. \n"We felt it was the right thing to do," an airline spokesman said, but the Air Line Pilots Association called the decision "harsh and inappropriate." \nPilots Foong Chee Kong and Latiff Cyrano had mistakenly turned on to a runway at the airport that was closed for repairs when preparing to take off on a stormy night, and their jumbo jet exploded when it ploughed into construction equipment. \nNinety-six people aboard the plane survived, including the pilots. Taiwanese authorities blamed pilot error for the tragedy, with manslaughter charges against the pair conditionally suspended for three years. \nSingapore Airlines said in a statement it had "terminated the services of captain Foong and first officer Latiff in accordance with their terms of employment." \nThe airline spokesman said a clause in the pilots' contracts allowed for their services to be terminated with three months' salary in lieu of notice. \nA third pilot in the cockpit, first officer Ng Kheng Leng, was not held liable by Taiwanese officials and retained his job with the airline, as he was not engaged in the actual operation of flight SQ600. \nAn Air Line Pilots Association official told the Straits Times' online edition there was "no evidence to show that the pilots were reckless or had disregarded any rules, so this decision is harsh and inappropriate." \nFoong and Latiff were told of their dismissal yesterday, two days after the airline received confirmation from the Taiwan High Prosecutor's Office endorsing a lower court decision to suspend the manslaughter charges. \nThe original decision by the Taoyuan District Court said the charges would be lifted if Foong and Latiff complied with certain conditions during a three-year probation period. \nThe conditions included a ban on the pilots operating any aircraft entering or leaving Taiwan for one year, and a requirement that they perform 240 hours of community service in Singapore. \nThe decision to suspend the sentence was taken because of the better-than-average flying record of the pilots, the remorse they showed to the victims and the low visibility on the night of the accident, Taoyuan prosecutor Chiang Yuan-chen said.
VOTERS’ CHOICE: The DPP’s Chen and independent candidate Huang conceded defeat before 7:20pm, with Chiang pledging to remain humble and do his best Legislator Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) yesterday won the Taipei mayoral election, with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate defeating the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) pick, former minister of health and welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), and former Taipei deputy mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊), an independent. After polling stations closed at 4pm, the Taipei Election Commission issued a preliminary estimate that voter turnout in the city was about 64 percent, slightly lower than in 2018. Chiang, 43, is to be the youngest Taipei mayor ever, with the KMT regaining the capital after eight years. Chen had an exceptionally high national approval rating when he was head
A naval landing craft on Thursday sank near Kinmen County after wet weather and rough seas flooded its cabin, the Naval Fleet Command said. The vessel, called Landing Craft Mechanized 1326, had completed transport and replenishment missions in the county and was returning to Taiwan proper when surging waves flooded the cabin, the navy said in a statement. The craft’s five crew members tried to bail out the water to no avail, the Navy said. The landing craft eventually sank off Kinmen’s Liaoluo Bay (料羅灣) at 5:18pm, although all crew members rescued, it said, adding that the precise cause of the sinking
FAMILY BACKGROUND: Chiang was effective in running a cautious campaign to avoid making mistakes, waiting for other candidates to slip up, an analyst said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei Mayor-elect Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) stood out among his rivals due to his energy, his die-hard supporters and his relative openness to discuss issues such as same-sex marriage, a political analyst said yesterday. Chiang’s campaign was also aided by his family’s background in politics, which helped him garner greater support in Taipei where there is a large KMT base, said the analyst, who chose to remain anonymous. “Chiang is also not a typical KMT member when it comes to certain issues, such as gay marriage, and his more open stance widened his support base — particularly among young
First-time politician Mai Yamada’s (山田摩衣) Japanese name has attracted attention in Chinese-language media after her win in the New Taipei City Council election on Saturday. Born to a Taiwanese mother and Japanese father, the 32-year-old Taiwanese-Japanese stood out after becoming one of nine elected city councilors in Banciao District (板橋) in the nation’s local government elections on Saturday. Although she has a Japanese name, she grew up and was educated in Taiwan, Yamada said, adding that “Taiwan is my home.” Before running for local government, Yamada, who speaks fluent Japanese and English, was Legislative Speaker You Si-kun’s (游錫堃) secretary. She has been involved in