Metal fatigue probable cause of plane crash

  • AseanPlus News
  • Wednesday, 04 Jun 2003

TAIPEI: Taiwan aviation safety authorities looked to metal fatigue as the cause of the crash of China Airlines flight 611 last year that killed all 225 people on board, according to a factual data report released yesterday. 

The Aviation Safety Council ruled out pilot error, external forces, weather and security as having caused the Boeing 747-200 to crash into the Taiwan Strait last May -- Taiwan's worst-ever air disaster. 

The plane had broken up in-flight, the council confirmed after examining primary and secondary radar records, wreckage distribution and injury documentation. 

Flight 611, bound for Hong Kong, experienced “in-flight break-up” as it climbed above 30,000m, some 20 minutes after taking off from Taipei's international airport. 

Hoping to find answers, the Aviation Safety Council painstakingly re-assembled the wreckage of the plane – the first time it has done so in a crash probe. 

During the reconstruction, investigators found “multiple fatigue cracks, located about the area of the repair doubler, as the result of a 1980 tail strike in Hong Kong,” a reference to a 22-year-old repair near the jetliner's rear fuselage. 

There were also multiple strains along the repaired crack, which was also badly corroded. – AFP  

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