Taipei -

A top official in Taiwan's civil aviation administration on Saturday denied that the chief pilot was blamed for the TransAsia Airways crash that killed 48 people.

“We have never stated that it (crash) was the responsibility of the chief pilot,” said Lee Wan-li, the deputy director general of the Civil Aeronautics Administration.

The family of Lee Yi-lang, who was also killed, expressed anger on Friday over a CAA spokesman's statement that said the chief pilot “had the power to decide” whether to land, circle for another attempt, or return to the original airport.

TransAsia Airways flight GE222 plane crashed into a residential neighbourhood on Wednesday after an apparent failed attempt to land at Magong Airport in Taiwan's offshore Penghu archipelago in heavy winds in the wake of Typhoon Matmo. Forty-eight people died and there were 10 survivors.

The CAA and government set standards for takeoff and landing, Lee said, and if conditions are worse than these standards, the chief pilot has the discretion to decide whether to attempt a landing, refly and wait to make another attempt, or return to the airport of origin.

“The question of who has responsibility should be decided by the independent investigation of the Aviation Safety Council,” he continued. The CAA said Saturday that 44 bodies had been identified. - Sapa-dpa