Chief of general staff among eight killed in military chopper crash

01/02/2020 05:42 PM
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Chief of General Staff Shen Yi-ming (CNA file photo)
Chief of General Staff Shen Yi-ming (CNA file photo)

Taipei, Jan. 2 (CNA) The ROC military's Chief of General Staff Shen Yi-ming (沈一鳴) was among eight confirmed dead after a military chopper crashed in New Taipei Thursday, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) said in a statement.

The UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter was forced to attempt an emergency landing in New Taipei's Wulai District en route to a military base in Dong'ao, Yilan County, as part of a pre-Lunar New Year inspection.

Shen, 62, is the highest-ranking military leader in Taiwan to die while conducting his official duties.

The seven other confirmed fatalities were Political Warfare Bureau Deputy Director Major General Yu Chin-wen (于親文), Major General Hung Hung-chun (洪鴻鈞) of the Office of the Deputy Chief of the General Staff for Intelligence, Major Huang Sheng-hang (黃聖航) of the Office of the Chief of the General Staff, Chief Master Sergent Han Cheng-hung (韓正宏), chopper pilot Lieutenant Colonel Yeh Chien-yi (葉建儀), co-pilot Captain Liu Chen-fu (劉鎮富), and Crew Chief Master Sergeant Hsu Hung-pin (許鴻彬).

The five survivors have been identified as Lieutenant General Huang Yu-min (黃佑民), Lieutenant General Tsao Chin-ping (曹進平), Major General Liu Hsiao-tang (劉孝堂), Lieutenant Colonel Chou Hsin-yi (周欣頤) and Military News Agency reporter Chen Ying-chu (陳映竹).

It was Chen who sent out a message for help after the chopper crashed.

The helicopter, part of the Air Force Rescue Team, took off from Songshan air force base in Taipei at 7:54 a.m.

It disappeared from radar screens at around 8:07 a.m. before making an abortive forced landing in a mountainous area in the Wulai District of New Taipei, according to the MND.

The Air Force dispatched two other Black Hawks to the scene, while 80 soldiers were deployed to the area around Tonghou Creek in Wulai, it said.

The cause of the accident remains unknown. The helicopter was one of 60 UH-60M Black Hawks sold to Taiwan by the U.S. in 2010.

President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has ordered all military agencies fly the national flag at half-mast as a sign of mourning.

(By Flor Wang, You Kai-hsiang and Wang Yang-yu)

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