The pilot of the ill-fated TransAsia plane was still clutching the joystick when his body was found in the cockpit, after he battled to avoid populated areas, reports said on Friday.
Pilot Liao Chien-Tsung, 41, was among at least 35 people who lost their lives in the accident. Fifteen people survived and rescuers are still searching the river and submerged wreckage for another eight who remain missing.
The plane crashed on Wednesday after taking-off from Songshan airport hitting an elevated road as it banked steeply away from buildings and into the Keelung River.
Liao has been hailed as a hero for making a last-ditch attempt to steer the turboprop plane, with 53 passengers and five crew on board, away from built-up areas during its steep descent, avoiding more deaths and damage.
His body was found in the cockpit still holding the joystick with both hands, and with his legs badly fractured, the Taipei-based China Times newspaper said.
As hundreds of rescuers and divers battled bad weather to search for those still missing, with four more bodies retrieved on Friday, authorities banned the airline from applying for new routes for one year in the wake of the latest incident.
Wednesday’s accident was the second fatal crash for TransAsia after a July disaster that left 48 people dead.