Taiwan’s Military Chief of Staff Shen Yi-ming died in a helicopter crash in a mountainous region in the northern part of the island on Thursday morning, the South China Morning Post reported. At least seven others were also killed when the Black Hawk chopper crashed. Taiwan Air Force Commander Hsiung Hou-chi confirmed the deaths.
Among the dead were Political Warfare Bureau Deputy Director Yu Chin-wen and Hung Hung-chin, from the defence ministry’s office of the deputy chief of the general staff for intelligence, the newspaper said. A lieutenant colonel, a captain, a major and two senior master sergeants were also killed in the crash.
Taiwan’s defence ministry said in a statement that the location of the helicopter had been identified and that two Black Hawks and about 80 military officers have been dispatched to the scene. Rescuers have also been sent to the location, in New Taipei county’s Wulai district.
The aircraft had been carrying 13 personnel. The survivors include new Deputy Chief of Logistics for General Staff Huang Yu-min, Deputy Chief of General Staff for Communications Major General Tsao Chin-ping and Military News Agency reporter Chen Ying-ju.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said in a Facebook post that she has directed the relevant departments to “put their full efforts into the search and rescue to ensure all the people were safe”. “The safety of personnel is the first priority,” Tsai said. “I directed all units to do their best to search and ensure the safety of all personnel.”
This is not the first time that a United States-manufactured Black Hawks chopper has crashed in Taiwan. In February 2018, six people were killed when the pilots ignored a warning signal for air turbulence, the South China Morning Post said.