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The pilot of the fatal TransAsia crash is being hailed as a hero

Liao Chien-tsung, the pilot who was flying
a TransAsia flight when it crashed into a river
near Taipei yesterday, is receiving praise for his
efforts to steer the plane away from downtown
Taipei and its many high rise buildings and
apartments. The crash has left 31 people dead (http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/05/us-taiwan-airplane-idUSKBN0L902C20150205?feedType=RSS&feedName=worldNews ) ,
including Liao and his co-pilot. Twelve people
are still missing.

TransAsia flight GE235 from Taipei to Kinmen
Island off the shore of Taiwan reported an
engine flameout shortly after taking off. It
quickly began losing altitude as it passed
dangerously close to buildings and clipped a
taxi on an overpass before crashing upside
down into the Keelung River, which flows
through Taiwan’s capital city. Some have
interpreted the plane’s flight path as evidence
that Liao swerved to land the aircraft away from
the city.

“If the aircraft is coming down the pilots aim for
open spaces where they and the passengers
might survive,” David Learmount, from
Flightglobal magazine, told the Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/taiwan/11390435/Pilots-of-crashed-TransAsia-flight-hailed-as-heroes.html ) . “[The
TransAsia pilots] pulled the nose up to try to
haul it over the top of the buildings, but when
the aircraft has almost stalled, that would stall
the wings completely and instead of going up,
you go down more steeply.”

Residents in Taipei took to Facebook and other
forums to thank Liao. One wrote ( https://www.facebook.com/ETtoday/
posts/832361526800013?
comment_id=832381003464732&offset=0&total_comments=1215 ) : “The
footage shows the plane at the end making a
sudden turn, as he was trying avoiding the city’s
buildings and high apartments. Many thanks to
the two pilots for saving Nankang district,” an
area in downtown Taipei. Another wrote (https://www.facebook.com/ETtoday/posts/832361526800013?comment_id=832372616798904&offset=0&total_comments=1215 ) : “Peaceful
journey. You made the best judgement and
saved many. Hero.” “The results would have
been more unimaginable if the plane had fallen
in the city or crashed into the commercial
building nearby,” a blogger ( http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2015/02/05/2003610867 ) on an
online forum in Taiwan, Professional Technology
Temple, wrote.

In mainland China, netizens were also impressed
with Liao’s efforts. Almost half of the plane’s 58
passengers were from mainland China. On the
Weibo microblog, bloggers posted icons of
candles and hands ( http://www.weibo.com/1340723374/C2LwcaIJN?
type=comment#_rnd1423109538242 ) clasped,
as if in prayer. One wrote ( http://www.weibo.com/5218090266 ) , “I wish him a
peaceful return home.”

According to Taiwanese media ( http://www.cna.com.tw/news/ahel/201502040293-1.aspx ) , Liao, the father
of a nine-year-old boy, hailed from a poor
family in in central Taiwan, where he helped his
parents sell clothing at a night market.
Liao studied for years to earn his pilot’s
license and entered the air force, eventually
became a commercial pilot at Taiwan’s largest
carrier, China Airlines, before joining TransAsia.
According to aviation officials, he had 4,900
hours of flying experience.

Author : Lily Kuo

URL : http://qz.com/339304/the-pilot-of-the-fatal-transasia-crash-is-being-hailed-as-a-hero/

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