When the weather's
bad... who do you blame? The weatherman? That's apparently the case
in Taiwan... where five meteorologists for the Civil Aeronautics
Administration have been indicted for failing to issue warnings
just before a cargo plane crashed in the Taiwan Strait in December
Authorities say the TransAsia Airways ATR-72 (file photo of
type, right) ran into severe icing conditions and crashed --
because the five meteorologists failed to issue a SIGMET for
traffic over the Strait.
Prosecutors say that failure left the TransAsia crew unaware of
Investigators say SIGMETs, or "SIGnificant METeorological
information" alerts, had been issued by authorities in Hong Kong
and Japan for aircraft in the Taiwan Strait -- but meteorologists
at the CAA had not followed suit.
The flight crashed into the water less than an hour after taking
off from Chang Kai-Chek International Airport, headed for Macau.
Both pilots on board were killed.
Investigators assigned by the prosecution found the accident was
caused by icing along the plane's wings and control surfaces, which
led to a loss of control.