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Breaking News

Singapore Airlines Crash: Investigators Conclude Pilot Took Wrong Runway

Aired November 3, 2000 - 5:01 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LINDA STOUFFER, CNN ANCHOR: We do have developments into the investigation of the Singapore Airlines plane crash from earlier this week. We planned to let you listen in to a live news conference, the signal was breaking up there, I believe we have it back, though. We'll let you listen in now live.

KAY YONG, TAIWAN AVIATION SAFETY COUNCIL: Four seconds later the tape ended.

QUESTION: So the last thing you heard him say was unclear.

YONG: Correct. Correct.

QUESTION: Did I hear you right when you were speaking Chinese that we had another remark we can see that (inaudible) and (inaudible)?

YONG: Yes. In Chinese I said: OK, I'm going to put it to high first. And in the Chinese I first explained he put the throttle, he put the thrust in too high. But later on the -- there was a message I sent to Mr. Ho (ph) indicating what he meant, he was, he put the wiper on high, the windshield wiper on high. OK, I stand corrected on that remark.

QUESTION: What was the time of that?

YONG: The time was 11:16:19.

QUESTION: (inaudible)

YONG: The captain.

QUESTION: At 11:16 (inaudible), was that the same time?

YONG: That was the same time. The remark of: I'm going to put it high was immediately after that, so it was a continuous sentence from 11:16:19.

QUESTION: I just want to confirm that (inaudible).

YONG: According to our investigators, the information that was given to us it was the wiper.

OK, this is what happened in the CVR. Are there any questions?

Yes?

QUESTION: When the airport said 80 knots, can you say again what that meant? Was the aircraft going 80 knots?

YONG: When it approach 80 knots, because that is a typical call out time indicating in between V-1 speed and the V-1 speed.

QUESTION: F.O. is first officer?

YONG: F.O. is first officer. The guy, the person sitting on the right-hand seat. OK, the captain sits on the left, the F.O. sits on the right.

QUESTION: Is the third person?

YOUNG: The third person is also an F.O., a first officer. The more senior first officer sits in the back.

QUESTION: And what is the name of the pilot (ph)?

YOUNG: We usually do not quote that, OK, because the name of the pilots are irrelevant to the safety of the crew (ph).

QUESTION: The V-1 was called out by the first officer?

YOUNG: Correct.

QUESTION: And that is the only -- everything else that you said was spoken from inside the cockpit was by the captain, not by any other officer?

YOUNG: I did say something referring to the -- to the ATC tower and also the -- 80 knots was also called out by...

OK, with that in mind, I would like to play the data from the flight data recorder, and this is the engineering data. OK. We -- our engineers, you know, read it out from the -- from the flight data recorder. And this is something I'd like to indicate it to you.

Could you dim the light please? Could you turn off the light over there?

OK. OK, the plane was originally at D-5 (ph), this gate here, and he pushed back, and then followed this taxi way to the west, and then he turned to the west cross road, this is another taxi way, all the way up to NP, November Papa (ph), this is the taxi way parallel to both five left and five right, five left is this one, five right is this one. So he continuously taxied down all the way to the end, make a left turn, and then according to the flight data recorder data he immediately turned into 5R.

QUESTION: Who made the turn, was it the pilot or the copilot?

YOUNG: I'm sorry? QUESTION: Who made the turn, was it the pilot?

YOUNG: The pilot was in control. OK? And then he took off from 05 right, and at this point, which is immediately before November 4th, the tape stopped here. The V1 speed occur around here, and the first time of impact was around here.

QUESTION: Excuse me. What did he say: I can see not so bad?

YOUNG: "I can see not so bad" is probably around here, perhaps even around here. I have to -- we have yet to synchronize completely the CVR and the FDR.

QUESTION: Where is the section now under repair?

YOUNG: The section under repair is over here. This part.

QUESTION: And how come the first impact happened before the first...

STOUFFER: You've been listening to a news conference as investigators talk about their investigation into the Singapore Airlines crash that happened in Taiwan earlier this week. We did pickup that news conference in progress, so it was a little bit hard to follow exactly what they were talking about. But the basic conclusion is this: They say that the pilot was in control of the aircraft and accidentally used wrong runway for takeoff. He was given instructions to take Five Left, which was a clear runway, and by mistake headed down Five Right, that is what the investigator was explaining a short while ago.

Five Right was actually closed for maintenance and the plane ended up slamming into some construction equipment, two excavators from what we are told.

You might remember the plane crashed, as I said, on Tuesday night. Eighty-one people were killed in that crash, 82 people were injured. It happened in very bad weather. He was also summing up a little bit of what the pilot said, apparently at one point on the recording, the pilots said something like: I can see not so bad. However, visibility was not good. A typhoon was approaching, there were heavy winds, and lots of rain at the time.

But again, the basic conclusion is this, the pilot did indeed take the wrong runway on takeoff from the airport there in Taiwan. And again, 81 people were killed in that crash. It is a developing story. We will keep you up to date with any more details as we get them.

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