Reports say the pilot of the crashed TransAsia Airways plane had still been clutching the joystick when his body was found in the cockpit as he battled until the very last moment to avoid populated areas.
On February 4, the TransAsia ATR72-600 plane struck a road bridge shortly after take-off and plunged into Keelung River.
At least 35 people lost their lives in the accident. Fifteen people survived and rescuers are still searching the river and submerged wreckage for the other eight missing members.
Major newspapers ran front-page tributes on Friday, hailing Liao for saving lives as he apparently averted the turboprop plane from what could have been a disaster for civilians on the ground.
Taiwanese leaders and citizens also mourned the 41-year-old hero.
“He struggled to hold onto the joystick till the last moment before the plane plunged into the river, in an attempt to control its direction and to reduce casualties,” the newspaper added, citing unnamed prosecutors investigating the case.
Experts say TransAsia Airways faces possible sanctions over its second fatal accident in just seven months.
Back in July 2014, a TransAsia flight crashed during stormy weather in Taiwan’s Penghu archipelago, killing 48 passengers.
The airline has been banned from applying for new routes for one year following the latest incident.
Authorities are also looking into allegations against the airline, including labor shortages and insufficient training.