Taipei, Feb 8: 42-year-old Liao Chien-tsung, the pilot of the doomed TransAsia plane, has been hailed as a hero. Liao's body was found and the rescue team officials were stunned to find his hands still on the control of the plane.
Taipei's mayor praised Liao for steering the plane between apartment blocks and commercial buildings before ditching the stalled aircraft in a river.
Rescue team found Liao and the co-pilot's bodies from the cockpit, with their legs badly broken. Media reports quoted investigators as saying, "They were still trying to save this aircraft until the last minute."
At least 40 people died after the propeller-jet crashed into the muddy Keelung River minutes after takeoff Wednesday from Taipei's airport. Fifteen people were rescued.
Preliminary investigations indicate the pilots of the TransAsia Airways ATR 72 shut off a running engine after its other engine went idle, a move that aviation experts said was an error.
At the river crash site, divers tried to find the bodies of three people still missing by using metal detectors to locate their watches or seat belts.
(With agency inputs)