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Taiwan orders checks on country's ATR fleet

Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) has ordered Taiwanese ATR operators to conduct a "special check" on their turboprop fleets, following the crash of a TransAsia Airways ATR 72-600 into the Keelung river.

At a press conference in Taipei this morning, CAA director general Lim Tyh-Ming says the check will include looking into the aircraft's engines as well as the fuel control system. The regulator has not called for a grounding of the type.

TransAsia says its 11 ATR 72s are not in operation, since they are currently being checked. Eva Air subsidiary Uni Air is the only other operator of the ATR in Taiwan, with an in-service fleet of 12.

A CAA spokesman tells Flightglobal the flight data and cockpit voice recorders from the crashed turboprop have been recovered and handed to the Aviation Safety Council of Taiwan, which will lead the investigation into the crash of flight GE235.

The death toll has risen to 31, with 12 of the 58 onboard the aircraft still unaccounted for. The 42-year-old pilot flying the aircraft when it crashed has been confirmed to be among the dead.

The wrecked fuselage of the turboprop has been lifted out of the water and pulled to the bank of the Keelung river. The aircraft's wings and one engine are however still underwater, say search officials.

Aircraft manufacturer ATR also put out a statement, saying that the circumstances of the accident are still under investigation.

French investigation authority BEA says it has sent a team of two investigators, together with four technical advisors from ATR to Taiwan to help with investigations.

TransAsia’s share price dipped 6.9% on 4 February after the crash, closing at NT$12.15 ($0.39). This slipped further to NT$11.60 as at 09:45 local time on 5 February.

Flight GE235 was on the Taipei Songshan-Kinmen route when it crashed shortly after take-off, apparently after its left wing contacted a viaduct. Footage of the aircraft’s last few seconds indicate that the aircraft was fully stalled.

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