Carpentry master, firefighter among TransAsia crash victims

07/24/2014 02:22 PM

Taipei, July 24 (CNA) More information was emerging Thursday about the victims of the TransAsia Airways plane crash a day earlier that claimed the lives of 48 people.

The Ministry of Culture's Bureau of Cultural Heritage confirmed Thursday that 82-year-old Yeh Ken-chuang, an important carpenter of traditional Taiwanese architecture, was among those aboard flight GE222 who were killed after the flight crashed on the outlying island county of Penghu the previous evening.

Yeh was certified as a preserver of timber framing (or "big woodworking") techniques by the Penghu county government in 2010, and was listed as a candidate to be named a national-level preserver of the art, or a "living national treasure," bureau chief Shy Gwo-long told reporters.

Yeh specialized in designing and constructing large structures for Taiwan's traditional wooden architecture such as temples, but was also skilled in wood carving and decoration.

He was revered as "Master Chuang" by fellow carpenters, using the last character of his first name to show affection. His works include Wang An Wu Fu Temple and Long Men Guan Yin Temple in Penghu.

As news continued to emerge about the victims, it was also revealed that 47-year-old firefighter Lee Ming-tsun was among the dead. He was discovered in the wreckage by his colleagues.

His fellow firefighters shouted "he's my brother!" when they found Lee's body, Penghu County Fire Bureau Chief Hung Yung-peng said Thursday, describing the firefighters as "shocked and saddened."

Lee was a leader of the Kaohsiung Harbor Fire Brigade's division in Penghu's Magong harbor, who was returning to Penghu from Kaohsiung after a holiday.

Lee served at the Kaohsiung brigade for 20 years. He was relocated to Magong over two years ago and was said to get along well with his colleagues.

Hung said the heavy rain and dark night made the rescue work difficult. Body parts were scattered around the site, he added.

Over 750 firefighters, military personnel and government workers were dispatched to the crash site to assist with rescue work, Hung said.

One firefighter who assisted with the rescue work said they discovered over 20 incomplete bodies near the plane's broken cockpit.

A military police officer, Tsai Min-hua, was also among the dead. He was on vacation on Taiwan proper, but was called back to Penghu to be on duty for Typhoon Matmo.

Yen Kuang-chien, his wife Hsu Wen-ching and their daughter and son were also aboard the flight. They were planning to visit their parents in Penghu and take them to Kaohsiung to stay with the children for the summer vacation, their neighbors said.

All four of them died.

Also among the dead is driver Chen Cheng-lung, who had taken the day off to accompany his father to a funeral in Penghu.

Chen Chu-feng, deputy director of the Kaohsiung City Environmental Protection Bureau, said Chen Cheng-lung had worked for him as a driver for close to five years and was a pragmatic and kind person.

Chen Jun-ching and his wife Hsu Hsiu-chu, as well as four of their relatives, were also killed in the crash.

A total of 58 people were aboard flight GE222, which crashed on approach to the island's airport in stormy weather in the wake of Typhoon Matmo. Forty eight were killed and 10 survivors were taken to hospital.

(By Christie Chen, Wang Ching-yi, Cheng Chi-feng and Wang Shu-feng)ENDITEM/J

Related stories:●July 24: Two Frenchwomen killed in TransAsia crash, French office confirms●July 24: 48 confirmed dead, 10 injured in TransAsia plane crash

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