A transcript of the exchange between the control tower and the pilot of TransAsia Airways Flight GE 235, which crashed Wednesday with 58 people on board, has been deemed authentic by Taiwan's Civil Aeronautical Administration (CAA), The Associated Press reported. Meanwhile, divers continue to search for 12 people still missing after the crash, which killed 31 people.
These are excerpts from the transcript of the conversation between the pilot and the control tower:
Control tower: "(inaudible) ... wind 100 degrees, 9.9 knots. Clear to take off"
Pilot: "Clear to take off, runway 10, TransAsia 235"
Pilot: "(inaudible) ... mayday, mayday, engine flameout"
Control tower: "TransAsia 235, please try again. Contact Taipei, approach on 119.7"
Control tower: "TransAsia 235. Control tower. ... TransAsia 235. Control tower. "
The plane, which was an ATR 72-600, had taken off from Taipei's Songshan International Airport and was headed for Kinmen Islands off China's southeastern coast. However, soon after takeoff, the plane was shown -- in photos and a video taken by motorists on a highway -- clipping a vehicle and the freeway wall before tipping over into the Keelung River below.
The pilot’s efforts are being hailed by the country’s authorities, who believe that he averted a bigger disaster by avoiding buildings and crashing the aircraft into the river.
"The pilot's immediate reaction saved many people," Chris Lin, the brother of one of the survivors, said, according to Reuters, adding: "I was a pilot myself and I'm quite knowledgeable about the immediate reaction needed in this kind of situation."
However, aviation analysts believe that it is too early to conclude that the pilot's maneuvers were intentional.
“He's missed the buildings but it is premature to make an analysis of what happened on this flight. We have to wait for the data from the cockpit voice recorder and flight recorder," Geoffrey Thomas, an aviation analyst, said, according to Reuters.
The plane's pilot and co-pilot were among those killed. Of the 58 people on board the plane, five were crew members while most of the passengers were Chinese tourists.