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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