Tue, May 09, 2000 - Page 1 News List

Eight injured ashelicopter crashes in Taichung County

CLOSE CALL En route between two power stations, the Bell 430's rotor blade got snagged on a transmission line

By Lin Mei-chun  /  STAFF REPORTER

A Bell 430 helicopter got snagged on a power line and crashed in a valley near Chingshan Power Plant in Taichung County yesterday. Eight people were reported injured.

PHOTO: HUNG SHAO-CHIN, LIBERTY TIMES

Eight people were injured yesterday when a commercial helicopter crashed near the Chingshan Power Plant (青山電廠) in Taichung County.

The accident occurred around 1pm yesterday when the rotor of the Bell 430 helicopter apparently became snagged by a wire stretching across the valley.

The pilot, co-pilot and six passengers were hurt in the accident -- one severely wounded and now hospitalized.

According to Daily Air spokesperson Hsu Tung-chi (許東棋), the helicopter took off from Makung, Penghu County at 11:23am and headed toward Chingshan Power Plant to pick up a group of Taiwan Power Company employees.

The helicopter was then scheduled to fly onward to Tienluen Power Plant (天輪電廠), also located in Taichung county.

It was on its way to the second plant when the mishap took place.

The pilot apparently lost control of the helicopter when its rotor caught an electric wire spanning the valley near the Chiuan Bridge.

Hsu said the helicopter then flipped over and crashed while still upside down. Seven of the aircraft's eight passengers were slightly hurt, while one suffered a more serious bone fracture. The injured were rushed to nearby Feng Yuan Hospital (豐原醫院) for immediate medical treatment.

Reports yesterday said six of the eight injured were Taipower employees had who planned to return to Tienluen after having completed one week of maintenance work at Chingshan.

Daily Air Corp was the first helicopter company in Taiwan licensed to offer commercial passenger operations. Due to the high cost of tickets, however, the company's business has not been as profitable as had been expected.

Since opening for business in 1997, a series of accidents has also tarnished the image of helicopter travel.

Three people were killed in a helicopter crash near Makung on March 2, 1998, and another three lost their lives in an accident on April 21, 1999, reports said.

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