Vintage: 1998: The crash of China Airlines flight 676, Taiwan
China Airlines Flight 676, an international scheduled passenger flight from Denpasar-Ngurah Rai Bali International Airport Indonesia, to Taipei-Chiang Kai Shek International Airport in Taiwan, operated with an Airbus A300B4-622R, registration B-1814, crashed into several houses and terrain while on approach to Taipei-Chiang Kai Shek International Airport on Monday, 16th of February, 1998. The aircraft was completely destroyed. The fourteen crew members, 182 passengers and seven people on the ground perished. (203 fatalities) The crash of Flight 676 is the deadliest aviation accident on Taiwanese soil. It is also the fifth worst accident involving the Airbus A300.
China Airlines flight 676 was destroyed when it stalled and impacted a residential area of Taipei during an attempted go around at Chiang Kai Shek Airport. All 196 on board and seven persons on the ground were killed. The aircraft, an Airbus A300B4-622R, originated from Denpasar Airport, Indonesia and was bound for Taipei. The flight was cleared for an ILS/DME runway 05L approach to Taipei Chiang Kai Shek Airport in light rain and fog. The aircraft remained high on the approach. At 1,2nm short of the threshold, the altitude was 1515 feet, whereas it should have been at 500 feet at that point.
The flight crew selected full flaps. At 20:04:50 hours local time the autopilot was disconnected. Subsequently, as the aircraft crossed the runway threshold at 1475 feet, go around thrust was applied. The aircraft rapidly pitched up, reaching +35° as it climbed through 1 723 feet at an airspeed of 134 knots. The gear had just been raised and the flaps set to 20 degrees.
At 20:05:16 the aircraft had reached 2327 feet at a +42.7° pitch. Nine seconds later the speed had fallen to 43 knots as the aircraft stalled. The aircraft nosed down with a 79° left bank. The flight crew was not able to regain control and the aircraft impacted the ground left of the runway. It hit a utility pole and a highway median and then skidded into several houses, surrounded by fish farms, rice paddies, factories and warehouses. A fire erupted.
At 20h05 and 57 seconds, China Airlines flight 676 slammed into the ground just outside the airport perimeter wall to the left of runway 05L. The plane touched down in a field, slid across a four-lane road and slammed headlong into a row of two-storey townhouses. A massive explosion rocked the residential street as flaming wreckage was catapulted over the tops of the buildings; several residences collapsed into rubble on the spot. Terrified residents ran out into the street, only to be confronted with a scene of total devastation. Four multi-unit buildings had been completely destroyed and several others were severely damaged. Burning wreckage and bodies littered the streets and yards. As emergency workers rushed to the scene, they held out little hope for those on the plane: although it was reported that a child passenger was found with signs of life, they quickly died of their injuries and no other survivors could be found. All 196 passengers and crew were dead, along with seven people on the ground. Emergency crews did manage to extract a few survivors from the collapsed buildings, including a baby found under the wreckage more than 20 minutes after the crash, but for the most part the ambulances went home empty.
Among the dead in the crash was the director of Taiwan’s national bank, along with his wife and two of his high-level officials. With the rest of the region in the midst of the late 1990s Asian financial crisis, the government moved swiftly to prevent instability in the state bank from plunging Taiwan into the same sort of financial collapse. The prime minister convened an emergency cabinet meeting and appointed a new acting director later that very same night. But with financial turmoil averted, Taiwan still had to deal with a different crisis: a crisis of confidence in the country’s flag carrier. Before the wreckage had even gone cold, Taiwan and the world had already begun to ask: how was it that China Airlines could suffer a second massive disaster with over 200 dead in less than four years? What became of the restructuring that was undertaken after the crash in Nagoya? The Taiwanese government responded by grounding all of China Airlines’ Airbus A300s and all of the airline’s high level executives immediately resigned. But before these critical questions could receive real answers, Taiwanese investigators would need to figure out the basic sequence of events.
Probable cause: "The investigation team determined that the following factors combination caused the accident:
1. During all the descent and the approach, the aircraft was higher than the normal path
2. The crew coordination between the captain and the first officer was inadequate
3. During 12 seconds, the crew did not counteract the pitch up tendency due to the thrust increase after go around and then the reaction of the crew was not sufficient.
As a consequence the pitch up increased until the aircraft stalled."
12:04:26 TWR Clear to land. Wind 360 at 3, clear to land.
12:04:29 F/O Roger, clear to land, Dynasty 676.
12:04:34 F/O OK. Glide Slope blue. Localiser green.
12:04:42 Capt 1000 feet higher.
12:04:52 Capt Come on, 1000!
12:04:56 Capt OK. 30/40.
12:04:57 F/O 30/40.
12:05:02 F/O Landing gear, down, three green.
12:05:04 F/O Anti-skid, normal and eight released.
12:05:06 F/O Slat/Flap, 30/40.
12:05:07 F/O Spoiler.
12:05:09 F/O Armed.
12:05:10 F/O Landing light, on.
12:05:12 F/O Landing check list complete.
12:05:14 Capt Go lever, Go Around.
12:05:15 F/O Go Around, Go level.
12:05:17 Capt Yes. Go!
12:05:19 Capt Positive, gears up!
12:05:20 Capt Gear Up!
12:05:22 F/O Heading Select, flaps.
12:05:26 F/O Plus 10
12:05:27 CAM Don, Don ...
12:05:29 Capt Latch.
12:05:32 CAM Don,
12:05:33 CAM Du
12:05:34 CAM Wu ... .
12:05:36 CAM Wu Lu ... ...
12:05:37 CAM Wu Lu ... ., D-ling
12:05:38 CAM D-ling.
12:05:40 Capt OK
12:05:42 CAM Don
12:05:43 CAM Don
12:05:44 CAM Don
12:05:45 Capt OH! My God!
12:05:46 TWR Dynasty 676, confirm go around?
12:05:47 CAM Du ...
12:05:49 GPWS Terrain.
12:05:50 CAL 676 (F/O) Confirm go around!
12:05:52 F/O Pull it up, too low!
12:05:53 GPWS Whoop, Whoop, Pull up, Da La, Da La, Da La.
12:05:55 GPWS Whoop Whoop Da La, Pull Up.
12:05:57 GPWS Whoop. Whoop, Pull
12:05:58 CAM Da La.
Sources: Admiral Cloudberg, Aviation Accidents