The two turboprop engines of a TransAsia plane that crashed in Taiwan Wednesday, killing at least 35 people, failed to provide enough thrust to lift the aircraft, investigators said Friday.
Officials from Taiwan's Aviation Safety Council told a news conference that voice and data recorders revealed that the right engine failed 37 seconds after takeoff. One of the pilots then purposely shut down the left engine and tried a restart. But the plane crashed before the pilots could restart the engines. A recording of air traffic controllers indicated that the pilot's last words before the plane went down were "Mayday, mayday, engine flameout."
Officials said Friday it was still too early in the investigation to determine the cause of the engine failure.
Internet video showed Flight 235 moments after takeoff from Taipei's Songshan airport, bound for Taiwan's outlying Kinmen islands. The plane's left wing, perpendicular to the ground, is seen clipping an elevated highway and a taxi cab before crashing into the Keelung River. Authorities say 15 people survived, including a small child. Search and rescue operations continue for eight people still missing.
It is the second ATR-72 to crash in Taiwan in as many years. Last July, one of the French-made twin-engine turboprops crashed during poor weather near the airport on the island of Penghu, killing 48 people.