View Full Version : THAI blamed for near-miss over South Korea

Hermano Lobo
17th Nov 2006, 09:29
THAI blamed for near-miss over South Korea

SEOUL - Twenty-one people aboard a Taiwanese plane were injured Thursday when it was forced to change course to avoid another aircraft while approaching South Korea's Jeju island, airline officials said.

Nineteen of them needed hospital treatment and three are still in hospital including one with a brain haemorrhage, medical staff said.

The accident happened when a Boeing 757 operated by the Far Eastern Air Transport Corporation was approaching the southern resort island.

Airline spokesman Chang You-peng said the plane was told by flight controllers to reduce altitude from 35,000 feet to 34,000 feet.

But an alarm designed to avoid airborne collisions went off, prompting the pilots to make an emergency descent for around 10 seconds, Chang told AFP in Taipei.

"The pilots said they suspected it was a Thai jetliner flying nearby on the same altitude," he added, praising their "correct and proper" handling of the incident.

The pilots had no time to warn passengers of the sudden descent, Chang said, adding that 16 passengers and five crew were injured out of 129 passengers and eight crew members on board.

Agence France-Presse

THAI Clarification on Flight TG 659 incident
Today (16 November 2006), in clarification to news that an aircraft of Far Eastern Air Transport from Taiwan avoided an incident with Thai Airways International aircraft.

the Corporate Communications Department of Thai Airways International Public Company Limited provides the following clarification.

Far Eastern Air Transport of Taiwan, Flight EF 306 routed from Taipei, Taiwan to Jeju, South Korea, at 11.00 hrs. (Korean local time) THAI's pilot-in-command was notified of communication between Far Eastern Air Transport and the air traffic control of South Korea, which advised that Far Eastern Air Transport should descend according to the order given by air traffic control as a sick passenger was on board.

According to air traffic control instructions, THAI's aircraft, TG659 routed Seoul - Bangkok, was flying in its right position with lateral and vertical navigation at 34,000 feet above South Korean airspace and the air traffic system on board THAI's airplane indicated a warning (TCAS) that another airplane was approaching. THAI's pilot-in-command followed the procedure indicated by TCAS system and operated the flight as usual and landed in Bangkok at 13.40 hrs.

In addition, THAI's flight TG659 utilizing Boeing 777-300 routed Seoul - Bangkok departed Seoul at 09.50 hrs. (Korean local time) arrived Bangkok at 13.40 hrs. with 356 passengers and 20 aircrews.

Taiwanese plane almost crashed into Thai plane in midair, 21 injured

Twenty-one people aboard a Taiwanese plane were injured yesterday when it was forced to change course to avoid another aircraft while approaching South Korea's Jeju island. Officials from Taiwan’s Far Eastern Air Transport Corporation revealed that Eastern Air’s Boeing 757 was flying at 35,000 feet above ground near Korea’s Cheju Island but was alerted by a Korean aviation control center to reduce altitude to 34,000 feet as there was another plane, suspected to be a Thai Airways, coming at the same altitude.

With the sudden instruction, the Taiwanese aircraft descended immediately without informing the passengers as the alarm was out of order, causing 21 injuries. Two of which suffered from broken ribs and one from brain haemorrhage. A total of 137 passengers and crew were on board.

Meanwhile, Korea’s ministry of transport dispatched four officials to the Cheju island to investigate the accident.

Source: Thai National News Bureau Public Relations Department -17 November 2006

South Korean firefighters carry injured passengers from a Taiwanese airline at the airport on Jeju Island, South Korea.
AP Photo

17th Nov 2006, 09:38
Less interested in this blame game than to read the transcript of the ATC comms. No doubt this is available through the ATC tapes as well as the CVRs from both airplanes, and I assume that this will be made publicly available in due course

Will Hung
17th Nov 2006, 09:48
So how would descending help a sick passenger ?

17th Nov 2006, 11:00
Thai TV News just carried the story. It is unusual, under such circumstances, for a report like this to be aired here so soon after the event unless they were quite certain that no blame could be attached to the Thai flight crew.
It seems likely that the Thai flight was operating exactly where it was supposed to be operating.
If the Taiwanese aircraft had been cleared to descend from FL350 to FL340 (the FL the Thai flight was operating at) then perhaps ATC might be the culprits here by bringing them down before the Thai flight had cleared.
Have to wait and see what the recordings indicate I guess.
What was interesting was (what appeared to be) a large area of paint missing on the top of the Taiwan's fuselage. Given the violence of the evasive manouver could this have been caused by airframe stress and flexing?

Del Prado
17th Nov 2006, 11:06
So how would descending help a sick passenger ?

so they could land?

Was the sick passenger the one with the brain haemorrhage?

I thought our media were bad.....

Pilot Pete
17th Nov 2006, 13:22
From my experience if this was a TCAS RA (I am assuming here), it would seem strange that such a 'violent' manoeuvre was required. They are meant to be actioned 'promptly', but not 'violently'. No evidence of how the manoeuvre was actioned is given here, merely a press comment (and we all know how reliable they can be), so it would be wrong to criticise the crew. If you are standing in the cabin and lose your footing it wouldn't take much of a blow to cause head injury, so even a relatively benign manoeuvre could cause bodily injury to cabin occupants.


17th Nov 2006, 17:26
Clearly not much 'keeping seat belts loosely fastened'...

Pilot Pete
17th Nov 2006, 17:32
Maybe, but maybe not. If you look at the numbers injured compared to those on board it could be that everybody who was seated DID have their seatbelts loosely fastened. It could be just those who were unlucky enough to be on their way to the toilets at the time of the manoeuvre plus the crew who were injured.....


Dagger Dirk
23rd Nov 2006, 14:37
Aviation Safety Council to probe Near Midair Collision
WHO'S AT FAULT?: Flight FE306 from Taipei to Seoul on Thursday morning was forced to descend abruptly after the plane's collision alarm was activated by a Thai airliner
By Shelley Shan
Sunday, Nov 19, 2006
A special taskforce formed by the nation's Aviation Safety Council is scheduled to arrive in Seoul today to investigate the plunging plane incident that occurred this week.
Young Hong-tsu (楊宏智), the council's managing director and spokesperson, told the Taipei Times yesterday that since the taskforce from Taiwan will be leading the investigation, the council should be able to deliver a preliminary report within a week.
Young added that the most important thing at this point is to collate and integrate all the related information about the incident.
"Members of the taskforce will interview both the captain and all flight attendants on board," Young said. "The taskforce will also examine information recorded on the plane's `black box' flight recorder, and on the ground in the control tower."
When asked why the Korean Aviation Accident Investigation Board had decided to defer investigative authority to Taiwan, Young said that the board had limited manpower and the case was simply too much for them to handle.
Also, no Korean passengers were on board the flight, which made turning authority over to a third party relatively uncontroversial, he said. Young admitted, however, that the situation was still unusual.
Far Eastern Air Transport flight FE306 from Taipei to Seoul on Thursday morning was forced to descend abruptly from an altitude of 10,360m to 9,100m, after the plane's collision alarm system was activated by a Thai airliner flying in the opposite direction.
Twenty-one passengers were injured due to the plunge, with one person suffering a brain hemorrhage and two people fractured ribs.
Passengers with injuries vowed yesterday that they will sue the company for not taking appropriate care of them after the incident.
Television footage showed that a majority of the passengers were still suffering pain caused by minor injuries. Some, however, remained hospitalized.
Chang Yu-peng (張有朋), a spokesman for Far Eastern Air Transport Corp, emphasized yesterday that the pilot's response to the alarm was appropriate under the circumstances and served to avoid a mid-air collision.
"It would be both unfair and overly demanding if the passengers follow through with plans to take legal action against us," Chang said, adding that the company had quickly arranged for all injured passengers to receive hospital treatment on Jeju Island after the plane landed, and promised to compensate all those concerned for any medical expenses incurred.
Chang said the airline representatives in South Korea had tried to visit the injured passengers on Friday night -- the passengers were staying in a local hotel at the company's expense. However, when the representatives arrived, the passengers had reportedly left the hotel to find something to eat, he said.
"The company will continue to communicate with them [the injured passengers] over the dispute," Chang added.

23rd Nov 2006, 17:12
I am beginning to wonder if crews are over-reacting to RAs on TCAS?

My book says:

Disconnect the Autopilot
Increase/Reduce the Power
SMOOTHLY Raise/Lower the nose until in the Green Sector

This normally only involves changing the deck angle SMOOTHLY by about 4° up or down and certainly does not involve injuring people.

The rate of climb/descent required in an RA manoeuvre is only 1500 fpm. It is only if that is not enough that a call for "Increase rate of climb/descent" that 2500 fpm is called for.

I think some crews are (understandably) overreacting and a lack of good training is probably responsible.

23rd Nov 2006, 19:55
Seems to me that one gratuitous but mild "evasive" manuver should be part of the fare on every flight. It might remind a more-than-a-few SLF that the "keep seat belts loosely fastened" PA is for substantial reason. :ouch:

23rd Nov 2006, 20:30
I understand your sentiments but what about the cabin staff who are on their feet working while the seat belt signs are on?

Some of them got injured recently.

23rd Nov 2006, 23:38
It's conceivable that an instinctive human overreaction occurs when visual contact is made, as opposed to making the avoidance maneuver strictly by instruments, as would be the case in IMC [instrument meterological conditions].

24th Nov 2006, 00:01
It is important that this manoeuvre is trained in the simulator so that it is a learned smooth response.

Ignition Override
24th Nov 2006, 07:46
Our AOM states that to avoid the red stripe (RA on IVSI) it should be a 1-G maneuver.
We've had about two RAs, when level on downwind by busy airports and they usually are triggered by the other (climbing) aircraft, due to high climb rates below 10,000'.

Sitting in back of a long 757 could increase the extent of an injury, just like is the case in turbulence, which increases the effect in any fuselage where you are a long distance behind the wings. Light turbulence up front is moderate in the back several rows.:ouch: :yuk:

24th Nov 2006, 13:11
...Our AOM states that to avoid the red stripe (RA on IVSI) it should be a 1-G maneuver.
Out of interest, what's a 1-G maneuver?

Capn Bloggs
24th Nov 2006, 14:12
It can't be a 1g manoeuvre, technically, because you have to either pull more than 1g or push less than 1g to follow the RA. But practically speaking, it's very very close to 1g.

One of my crusty old checkies said during sim training on RAs that 1deg of pitch change will result in your Mach number in ROC or ROD. If you're cruising at M0.8, 1deg will give you 800fpm. It's pretty close and shows that very small amounts of pitch change are required to follow an RA. If done properly, the FAs should still be able to serve the SLF coffee.

It's the training that counts...

24th Nov 2006, 15:10
On an official Honeywell video on TCAS shown on my training the manouever was stated to be performed as 1 1/4 G manoeuver.

28th Nov 2006, 00:41
I was involved in an NTSB investigation about ten years ago in which a plane crossed about 1200' directly below a 757 on descent through FL240. The 757 crew had been advised of opposing mil. traffic, and so were alerted. The #1 radio altimeter locked onto the other aircraft briefly, and tripped the Ground Prox, and not the TCAS. In response to the surprise, "PULL UP, PULL UP" the F/O pulled too hard and caused injuries to two F/A.

I suspect there are a rash of overreactions to TCAS Advisories after the recent midair.

1/4 g is the key.


29th Nov 2006, 03:10
Interesting that this incident has not reached the NTSB web site yet - I thought they recorded every incident in the US or involving US operators or US made planes.