Experts Break Down The Two Plane Crashes In Bad Weather That Happened In The Last 24 Hours

Taiwan plane crashREUTERS/Pichi ChuangA man stands in his backyard and looks at the wreckage of a TransAsia Airways turboprop plane that crashed on Taiwan’s offshore island Penghu July 24, 2014.

It’s been a bad week for air travel — on Wednesday a plane crashed in Taiwan, and now another plane is thought to have gone down over Mali.

While the official cause of these crashes has not yet been established, both planes went down in areas where there was bad weather.

A TransAsia Airways flight carrying 58 people crashed while trying to land on a small island in typhoon conditions, and a plane chartered by Air Algerie is suspected to have gone down amid storms in Africa.

Both planes lost contact with control towers before crashing.

In the case of the Taiwan flight, The Weather Channel notes that the plane crashed just hours after Typhoon Matmo passed through Taiwan.

Hundreds of other flights in the area had been canceled that day because of the weather and the country’s weather agency warned of heavy rains, but the decision of whether or not to fly was ultimately left up to pilots.

“That plane flew right into a feeder band associated with Matmo as it pulled away from Taiwan,” AccuWeather meteorologist Anthony Sagliani told Business Insider. “Certainly, if it were me, I would not have flown into that area or advised anyone to do so until Matmo was further away than it was.”

This is what the weather looked like at the time of the Taiwan crash:

The plane crashed into houses in a village in Taiwan as it went down. The damage was severe:

Taiwan plane crashREUTERS/StringerRescue personnel survey the wreckage of a TransAsia Airways turboprop plane that crashed, on Taiwan’s offshore island Penghu.
Taiwan plane crashREUTERS/Pichi ChuangRescue personnel survey the wreckage of a TransAsia Airways turboprop plane that crashed.
Taiwan plane crashREUTERS/Pichi ChuangRescue personnel survey the wreckage of a TransAsia Airways turboprop plane that crashed.

A spokesman for Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration said there should have been enough visibility for pilots to safely land the plane despite the bad weather. An investigation into the cause of the crash is underway.

It’s still too early to tell what exactly took down the Air Algerie flight, which had 116 people on board, but officials have said there were sand storms in the area that might have affected the plane.

The plane, which was en route from Burkina Faso to Algiera, was asked to change course at some point during the flight because of inclement weather. An area that lies in the plane’s flight path was hit by a powerful sandstorm overnight, according to Reuters.

But the storm might not have been as drastic as the one that likely caused the Taiwan crash, as Sagliani notes:

Sagliani says this weather is typical for this time of year.

“These are typical conditions for this time of the year, and there should have been no trouble flying around any thunderstorms that were around the area,” he said. “Though I certainly don’t know for sure, it seems unlikely weather had a hand in the disappearance of this plane.”

This is where the plane is thought to have crashed:

Although it might seem like aeroplane disasters have been increasing in frequency lately — with the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 being shot down over Ukraine, and these other two accidents this week — air travel is still extremely safe, according to airline pilot Patrick Smith, who wrote the book “Cockpit Confidential.”

“[These disasters are] very unusual,” Smith told Business Insider. “The [air travel] accident rate has been consistently falling, and that is fatalities per miles flown.

“There are just more and more aeroplanes flying, so in some respects it stands to reason we’ll see more accidents. … There are going to be spikes in some years, but the overall trend has been safer and safer and I feel that will probably continue.”

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