Chief of general staff among eight killed in military chopper crash

Taipei-The ROC military's Chief of General Staff Shen Yi-ming (???) 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 (???), Major General Hung Hung-chun (???) of the Office of the Deputy Chief of the General Staff for Intelligence, Major Huang Sheng-hang (???) of the Office of the Chief of the General Staff, Chief Master Sergent Han Cheng-hung (???), chopper pilot Lieutenant Colonel Yeh Chien-yi (???), co-pilot Captain Liu Chen-fu (???), and Crew Chief Master Sergeant Hsu Hung-pin (???).

The five survivors have been identified as Lieutenant General Huang Yu-min (???), Lieutenant General Tsao Chin-ping (???), Major General Liu Hsiao-tang (???), Lieutenant Colonel Chou Hsin-yi (???) and Military News Agency reporter Chen Ying-chu (???).

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 (???) has ordered all military agencies fly the national flag at half-mast as a sign of mourning.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel