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Family of three survived TransAsia plane crash in lucky escape

2015/02/05 09:38:43

Taipei, Feb. 5 (CNA) In the wake of the tragedy that killed most of those on board TransAsia Airways (復興航空) Flight GE235 Wednesday, one family of three considered themselves fortunate to be counted among the 15 who survived the crash.

The fact that none of the three were seriously injured could be attributed to the quick thinking of Lin Ming-wei (林明威), the father, who requested a seating change shortly before takeoff from Taipei's Songshan airport.

Lin and his wife Chiang Yu-ying (江郁穎) and two-year-old son Ji-yao (日堯) had been seated to the left of the aisle of the ATR-72 turboprop but he asked to be moved to empty seats on the right and toward the back of the plane.

He felt uneasy about the noise he heard when seated on the left side, Lin explained.

The move may well have saved his own life and those of his loved ones. Initial reports indicated that the port side of the turboprop plane was seriously damaged when it crashed into Keelung River about three minutes after takeoff late Wednesday morning.

[Photo courtesy of the New Taipei City Fire Department]

The plane was bound for the offshore island of Kinmen, where the Lins had planned to go on holiday.

Of the 58 people on board, including 5 crew members, 31 were confirmed dead and 12 remained missing as of Thursday morning.

After the change, Lin was lucky to be seated right next to the place where the fuselage broke up. Immediately after realizing what had happened, Lin scrambled out of the opening and looked for his wife and son to safety, a family friend was quoted by local media as saying.

Lin found his boy in the water and applied CPR to resuscitate him.

Lin was the only survivor that was not hospitalized, according to Taipei City Hospital. He had hardly any superficial injury and, after a reassuring computed tomography scan, took a taxi to be reunited with his wife and son, who had been sent to another branch of the hospital by rescue workers.

Lin's wife suffered multiple fractures and would undergo surgery Thursday. Their son has been in intensive care after taking in water but was said to be conscious and in good spirits.

(By Ku Chuan and Jay Chen; click here for the latest on the crash)