Wed, Apr 04, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Five soldiers killed in Chishan chopper crash


Five soldiers were killed yesterday when an army helicopter crashed in Chishan Township (旗山), Kaohsiung County, Ministry of National Defense officials said.

As of press time, three other soldiers aboard the helicopter were still missing.

The UH-1H helicopter hit a transmission tower of the police-operated Police Radio Station, officials said, probably as a result of poor visibility caused to heavy rain.

Military spokesman Wu Chih-fang (吳季方) said Brigade Chief Colonel Chen Min-tung (陳銘同), Lieutenant Colonel Ma Wen-pin (馬文斌), Lieutenant Colonel Lai Yu-hung (賴育宏), Captain Wu Ming-chung (吳明宗) and Chief Technician Luo Ming-hua (駱明華) were killed in the crash.

They were all senior officers in an army airborne cavalry brigade, Wu said.

He said the helicopter took off at 3:52pm from the Kueijen base in Tainan County to perform an air surveillance drill.

Air traffic controllers lost contact with the chopper eight minutes later and the military received a report of the crash at 4:30pm.

The helicopter crashed onto Chungliao Second Road after colliding with the transmission tower.

No one on the ground was injured in the accident.

Wu said the army has grounded all its aircraft and launched an investigation into the crash.

A preliminary report said that the crash was probably caused by bad mountain weather that caused low visibility.

Police Radio Station news director Chen Shih-ping (陳世平) said the collision had cut off the station's FM104.9 broadcast in the southern part of the country, but that the signal had been restored after technicians transferred the frequency from the damaged tower to another one.

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