(Please note, this matter is not currently being litigated in Australia)TransAsia, a Taiwanese air carrier, suffered the loss of 47 people with 11 survivors hospitalised after the ATR72-500 turboprop (registration B-22810) crashed near the runway of Magong Airport on Penghu Island in Taiwan. The flight from Kaohsiung had originally been delayed due to bad weather, and took off about two hours after scheduled. Five people on the ground were also reported to be hurt.
According to the Aviation Safety Network, weather reported at the time of the accident included a visibility of 1600 meters, winds at 13 knots, with a 21 knot crosswind component, and cloud base at 330 feet. The aircraft was approaching runway 20 from the north and crashed short of the threshold and to the left of the runway centreline during a go around (or second approach).
In early comments as to the potential causes of the accident, the Taiwan Civil Aeronautics Administration (TCAA) said the weather at the time of landing was within safety minima, or in line “with the standard during taking off or landing” (per Li Wan-li, Vice Minister of TCAA). The airline is reported to be blaming the weather for the incident, but only the investigation will tell in due course. It is reported that many (55 out of 66) flights to Magong were cancelled on the day of the TransAsia flight but aircraft were landing safely ahead of this one – UNI Air flight 647 landed just ten minutes before under the same conditions, without incident.
The crash of the Taiwanese ATR72 bears some resemblance to the crash of the Lao Airlines ATR72 near Pakse Airport, Lao in October of 2013. That flight was considered to have been caused by bad weather and is also reported to have occurred after a go around.
Details are unclear at this point but it has been reported that Taiwan has quickly offered $33,000 in compensation to the family of each deceased, which is a very low amount by international standards. Families should exercise caution when it comes to considering such early offers of compensation, and ensure that they take appropriate legal advice before signing documents offered to them by the airline or its insurers and lawyers. Such documents have the capacity of releasing entities which may later be found to be legally responsible for the accident and sometimes those entities are aircraft and component manufacturers who are covered by insurance for losses of this kind.
The Shine Lawyers Aviation Department monitors such incidences to determine whether lessons from past accidents could have been used to prevent further accidents, particularly in cases where the same kind of aircraft crash in similar conditions. Those with questions are encouraged to contact Shine Lawyers Aviation Department.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: July 24, 2014.