Air disaster GE235 survivors describe final moments as plane hit bridge and crashed into the river
One passenger says he regained senses in flooded fuselage and managed to get his wife and baby to safety. Another saw a stewardess thrown to ceiling in her seat as plane went down
A survivor of the Taipei air disaster has said there was no warning from the crew in the moments leading up to the crash and has described his horror as the airliner struck a bridge and plummeted into a river.
Bank clerk Lin Ming-wei, 37, is recovering in hospital after the accident on Wednesday morning.
He has spoken about his ordeal to his brother Lin Ming-yi, who briefed reporters at Taipei City Hospital.
Lin said it had felt strange that the aircraft was flying so low after taking off from the city’s domestic airport, but he could see that the pilot was trying to climb and there was no indication from the crew that there was a problem.
He saw the plane bank 90 degrees to the left and then hit the bridge, plunging into the river. “It was horrifying,” Lin was quoted as saying.
He was on board the aircraft with his 34-year-old wife Chiang Yu-ying and their two-year-old son Lin Jih-yao.
He said he briefly lost consciousness, but when he regained his senses the cabin was filled with water and his wife was nearby soaked to the skin.
He looked for his son and saw that he was upside down with his head in the water, still with his seat belt on, but he quickly managed to pull him up.
“I told myself I could not lose my son and kept performing CPR to bring him back, which he did eventually,” Lin was quoted as saying by his brother.
Lin and several other survivors climbed out of the broken section of the plane and were rescued.
He and his family are still in an intensive care ward, but doctors have said their condition is stable.
Another survivor of the crash said he could not hear the noise of the engines after the plane took off.
Chen Ming-chung, 50, told his wife the aircraft then banked hard to the left and there was the sound of an impact.
“My husband saw a stewardess wearing a seat belt get thrown to the ceiling of the cabin in her seat and there were screams everywhere,” Chen’s wife told reporters at the hospital where he is receiving treatment in Taipei.
“Some passengers were hit by debris while other’s bodies were pierced by sharp metal. It was like a bloodbath in a movie,” she said.
“The left side of the plane was filled with muddy water and a crack had opened in the tail with light beaming in. Some passengers started to shout ‘quickly climb towards the crack’ as water flowed in,” she said.
Her husband was unable to open his seat belt to scramble to safety, but another man came to help free him after he shouted for help.
“My husband said he must find that man and thank him personally,” she said.
Chen told his wife he feels lucky to be alive because he switched seats to the right-hand side of the aircraft after he boarded the plane.
The left side of the airliner bore the brunt of the impact as it hit the water, he said.