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June 29, 2017

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Engine failure, flight deviation in GE222 crash

TAIPEI -- A sudden drop in engine efficiency and a flight deviation were recorded in the black boxes of the TransAsia Airways plane that crashed in the outlying county of Penghu July 23, but the cause remains under investigation, the Aviation Safety Council said Friday.

The revolutions of one of the turboprop's two engines dropped suddenly when the pilots requested a go-around at 7:06 p.m. on the day of the crash, the council said.

About the same time, the black boxes recorded unusual sounds that the council said could be a result of a smash between the turboprop and a wooded area close to the island county's Magong Airport.

The cause of the abnormal engine activity remains unknown, said council managing director Wang Hsing-chung, adding however that tree branches were found in one of the engines of the plane.

In addition, the path of Flight GE222 deviated from normal before the pilots started to operate the flight manually instead of automatically in preparation for landing, Wang said at a press briefing.

When the pilots turned off automatic operation of the plane at 7:05 p.m., the flight had sheered 13 degrees counterclockwise from its designated angle, he said.

According to the black boxes, the pilots did not mention any abnormal conditions during the flight, although they did comment on the strong winds as they approached the airport at around 6:45 p.m.

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