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Friday, 26 April, 2002, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
Singapore anger at Taiwan crash report
The charred remains of a Singapore Airlines jumbo
Singapore Airlines: "Deficiencies" at the airport
Singapore has criticised the Taiwanese investigation into the October 2000 crash of a Singapore Airlines jumbo jet in Taipei saying it "glossed over" problems at the airport.

Taiwan's Aviation Safety Council said pilot error and bad weather were the probable causes of the crash, in which the plane tried to take off from the wrong runway at Chiang Kai-shek airport.

How about you, Taiwan side? You're so sure that your side didn't make a single mistake?

Tan Yin Leong, brother of one of the victims
But Singapore investigators said the inadequately marked runway was an accident waiting to happen.

Both the Singapore Government and Singapore Airlines said the Taiwanese report did not put enough blame on the airport.

Taiwan barred Singaporean investigators from taking part in its final crash report released on Friday, so Singapore's transport ministry released its own findings.

The Taiwanese report "does not provide a full and balanced picture," Jaspal Singh, deputy secretary of Singapore's Ministry of Transport, told reporters.

He said the report's "almost exclusive" focus on pilot error was "regrettable".

'No barriers'

Singapore Airlines said it generally accepted the findings in both reports, but that Taiwan's report "does not give due weight to the deficiencies found at Chiang Kai-shek."

The Boeing 747 slammed into construction equipment while taking off, and burst into flames, killing 83 people. Ninety-six people survived, including the pilot and two flight deck crew.

Singapore's report said lack of lights and physical barriers led the pilots to a runway that was closed for repairs.

It said the runway had only four taxiway centre line lights when under international standards there should have been 16 lights. Of the four, one was not working and another was dim.

Victims' reaction

Taiwan's ASC report acknowledged confusing runway markers and broken taxiway lights created a risk for the pilots in the Los Angeles-bound flight SQ006, but did not cite that as a probable cause of the crash.

Families of some of the 12 Singaporean victims have had mixed reactions to Taiwan's report.

Tan Yin Leong, who lost his 45-year-old brother Tan Yip Thong in the crash, told Reuters news agency he was "very, very disappointed".

"Pilot's fault? Weather's fault? How about you, Taiwan side?" he said. "You're so sure that your side didn't make a single mistake?"

But another Singapore man, who lost a family member on the flight and did not want to be named, said the report was "fair"

"They put it quite clearly that the pilots lost situational awareness," he said. "I fully agree with that. You have two runways, left and right, and you got in the wrong one," he said.

See also:

26 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
Taiwan crash pilot ignored warnings
04 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
Crash relatives offered $400,000
01 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
Crash tarnishes clean record
03 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
Last seconds of doomed airliner
01 Nov 00 | Asia-Pacific
In pictures: Taiwan air crash
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