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Taiwan suspends all AH-64 Apache flights after crash in Japan

2018/02/06 13:43:43

Photo courtesy of Kyodo News

Taipei, Feb. 6 (CNA) The Ministry of National Defense (MND) suspended the operations of all 29 of its AH-64 Apache attack helicopters on Tuesday as a preventive measure after Japan did the same a day earlier following the crash of one of its Apache choppers.

The helicopter crashed in a residential area in Saga prefecture in Kyushu, killing one of the chopper's two crew members and injuring a young girl who lived in the area, according to multiple international media reports.

The crash led Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to order the halt of all of Japan's AH-64 helicopter flights until safety issues were resolved, and Taiwan decided to follow suit on Tuesday.

MND spokesman Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) said the military was following protocol in taking the step even if the AH-64D model that crashed in Japan was different from Taiwan's AH-64E Apaches.

Protocol dictates that when a similar aircraft in a neighboring country has an accident, the military shall conduct safety inspections on its own fleet, he said.

The military will gather its pilots and ground staff to discuss how to proceed with the inspections, and only after all AH-64 helicopters have been cleared will they be allowed to fly again, Chen said.

(By Lu Hsin-hui and Kuan-lin Liu)
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