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Air Asia flight forced back to Taoyuan after false fire alarm
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2014-02-28 03:13 PM
TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – An Air Asia budget flight carrying 133 passengers on their way to Malaysia was forced to turn back to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport after the pilot noticed a fire alert Friday.

After flight AK-1519 took off at 9:46 a.m. on its way to Kota Kinabalu in the East-Malaysian state of Sabah, the pilot saw a light turn on in the cockpit notifying him that engine No.2 was burning, reports said. He decided to turn back immediately, allowing the plane to land at Taoyuan at 10:10 a.m.

The passengers disembarked safely and were offered a meal before a different plane was arranged to take them to Malaysia, reports said.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration later released a statement that no fire had taken place, but that the alert light in the cockpit had malfunctioned. As a result, the CAA said it would not intervene or launch an investigation of its own.

Passengers interviewed by reporters said they had seen no flames, but they had the impression that the plane was not flying as high as it should. The crew said only that there was a problem, but did not give any explanations, leaving passengers unaware there had been major trouble, reports said. Many did not understand the situation until after they had landed back in Taoyuan, according to reporters.

Air Asia said the pilot had handled the situation by following regular emergency procedures, and when the light failed to go out, he decided the safest option was to return to Taoyuan.

On the first day of the three-day weekend, train travelers inside Taiwan also met with major trouble, as a problematic power line was expected to take more than nine hours to be fixed.

Power fell out Friday morning shortly after 8:30 a.m. between the stations of Chungli and Puhsin in Taoyuan County, causing problems for trains traveling on the main route near the country’s west coast.

Before 9 a.m., power was restored to a section between Chungli and Yangmei, but trains could only use one track, causing delays and disruption for thousands of passengers throughout the day.

By the early afternoon, delays had climbed to between 30 and 40 minutes, with 34,400 passengers on more than 50 trains affected, reports said. There were widespread complaints about the mishap and about the handling of passenger care after the incident. Stop trains from Taipei to Hsinchu needed three hours to reach their destination Friday instead of the usual one hour, reports said.

The Taiwan Rail Administration estimated that the line would be completely repaired by 7:30 p.m. Friday.

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