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Salvage of Black Hawk wreckage estimated to take up to 3 months

2018/03/22 16:57:04

CNA file photo

Taipei, March 22 (CNA) The Aviation Safety Council (ASC) said Thursday that it might take up to three months to raise the wreckage of an Army Black Hawk helicopter that went missing on Feb. 5 and was located a month later in waters off Orchid Island.

In a legislative hearing, ASC Chairman Hwung Hwung-hweng (黃煌煇) said a salvage team was working to recover the wreckage of the UH-60M Black Hawk, which was lying on the seabed at a depth of about 1,000 meters off southeast Taiwan.

Citing difficulties such as the location of the chopper and weather and ocean conditions, Hwung told lawmakers in the legislative Transportation Committee that he could not give an exact timeframe for the salvage mission but estimated that it would take two to three months.

In response, ruling Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Cheng Pao-ching (鄭寶清) said that timeframe was too long and he asked the ASC to speed up the operation.

The UH-60M Black Hawk went missing near Orchid Island on Taiwan's east coast on February 5 after it was dispatched there to transport a patient to Taitung in southeastern Taiwan.

The ASC detected the transponder signal of the missing chopper in waters near Orchid Island on Feb. 10 and was able to determine the precise location of the wreckage on March 6.

During Thursday's hearing, DPP lawmaker Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) noted that the ASC currently contracts out it salvage missions and he suggested that the council work to develop its own salvage capabilities, given that most aircraft accidents in Taiwan occur over the ocean.

(By Wang Shu-feng and Kuan-lin Liu)