Date: August 10th, 1997
Type: Dornier 228
Registration: B-12256
Operator: Formosa Airlines
Where: Matsu Island (Taiwan), six miles (10km) off mainland China.
Report No.: Not Available
Report Date: -
Pages: -

This is not an accident investigation report.

August 10, 1997 - Taiwan Plane Crash Kills 16

TAIPEI, Taiwan - A domestic Taiwanese airliner crashed on an offshore island on Sunday, killing all 16 people on board, officials said.

Rescuers found one critically injured survivor but she died on the way to hospital on Matsu island, Formosa Airlines vice president Tsai Chia-ching told reporters.

The twin-engine Formosa Airlines Dornier 228, carrying 14 passengers, a pilot and co-pilot, was on its way from the capital Taipei to Matsu, six miles (10 km) off mainland China. The pilots were both 47.

The aircraft took off at 7.30 a.m. (2330 GMT) from Taipei domestic airport and lost contact with Matsu's control tower at around 8.14 a.m. just before it was scheduled to land, officials said.

Local authorities found the wreckage in Jade Mountain area, west of Matsu airport. ``The bodies recovered were badly burned and unrecognisable,'' a state television reporter said at the crash site.

The aircraft's ``black box'' flight voice and data recorders had been recovered and Civil Aeronautics Administration officials had begun an investigation into the crash, the administration's director-general, Tsai Tui, said. Tsai said the administration had ruled out poor weather as the cause. ``It was raining at the time, but visibility was about 6,000 metres,'' he said.

It was the fourth accident involving a Formosa Airlines Dornier 228 in four years, the second on Matsu.

August 11, 1997 - Taiwan Plane Crash (UPDATE)

Pilot error and poor airport safety conditions were suspected as likely factors behind yesterday's crash of a domestic Taiwan aircraft which killed all 16 people on board.

The 8.33 am crash of the 19-seater Formosa Airlines Dornier 228 into Jade Mountain on remote Matsu island, not far from the mainland city of Fuzhou, was "definitely not due to poor weather conditions", said Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) director-general Tsai Duei. "It was raining, but visibility was still about 6,000 metres," he added. Mr Tsai said he could not comment on the cause of the accident before there had been a review of the flight recorders, recovered from the scene along with all 16 bodies.

Rescuers found one critically injured survivor, but she died on the way to hospital on Matsu, said Formosa Airlines vice-president Tsai Chia-ching. Matsu town chief Wang Ssu-chien, told Taiwan television: "I saw the plane hit the top of trees and a water tower of a military unit before it crashed and exploded." Liu Li-chun, a government official in Matsu, said: "The explosion was so loud that passengers waiting at the airport could hear it."

Other witnesses said there had been an explosion and a fire after the crash.

"The bodies recovered were badly burned and unrecognisable," said a television reporter at the crash site.

CAA officials said evidence from the crash site showed the pilot had veered away from the prescribed flight path.

A recording of a conversation between the pilot and the Matsu tower indicated that the pilot had aborted the landing and wanted to make a second attempt. CAA officials said the incident, the second of its kind to occur on the rocky outcrop in a little over a year, showed Matsu's airport was unsafe for fixed-wing passenger aircraft - at least in its present condition. Due to a lack of radar facilities, pilots approaching Matsu relied on visual contact and their on-board instruments to guide them in, and night flights were barred, said the officials.

Taiwan's Vice-President and Premier Lien Chan was "shocked" by the accident. He ordered improvements to be made to the airport.

Formosa Airlines was ordered to halt its four daily flights to Matsu, which were handed over to another domestic airline, pending an investigation.