Fri, Jul 25, 2014 - Page 1 News List

Victims include master carpenter, firefighter, families

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter, with CNA

Relatives of one of the victims of the TransAsia Airways Flight GE222 crash in Penghu on Wednesday night prays at the crash site yesterday.

Photo: Sam Yeh, AFP

Family members, friends and colleagues yesterday mourned and paid tribute to the 48 people killed in the crash of a TransAsia Airways (復興航空) plane on Penghu on Wednesday evening.

The Ministry of Culture’s Bureau of Cultural Heritage confirmed that 82-year-old Yeh Ken-chuang (葉根壯), a carpenter and master of traditional Taiwanese architecture, was among those who died when Flight GE222 crashed into Sisi Village (西溪) while making a second approach to Magong Airport.

Yeh was certified in 2010 as a preserver of timber framing (or “big woodworking”) techniques by the Penghu County Government and was due to be named as a “living national treasure” candidate at a meeting scheduled for Tuesday, bureau head Shy Gwo-long (施國隆) said.

Known as “Master Chuang” among other carpenters, Yeh specialized in designing and constructing large traditional wooden architecture such as temples, but was also skilled in wood carving and decoration. His works include Wang An Wu Fu Temple and Long Men Kuanyin Temple in Penghu.

Minister of Culture Lung Yin-tai (龍應台) said the ministry was shocked by the loss of Yeh and the bureau would contact his family and offer it full assistance.

The bureau has also been told to help preserve Yeh’s records on timber-framing techniques, Lung said.

A 47-year-old Penghu firefighter, Lee Ming-tsun (李明村), was also among the victims.

His body was discovered in the wreckage by some colleagues, who shouted: “He is my brother,” Penghu County Fire Bureau Chief Hong Yung-peng (洪永澎) said.

The firefighters were “shocked and saddened” by the discovery, he said.

Lee was a leader of the Kaohsiung Harbor Fire Brigade’s division in Penghu’s Magong Harbor. He was returning to Penghu after a holiday.

Lee served with the brigade in Greater Kaohsiung for 20 years. He was reassigned to Magong more than two years ago and was said to get along well with his colleagues.

Another returning Penghu resident who died in the crash was military police officer Tsai Min-hua (蔡民華). Tsai had been on vacation on Taiwan proper, but had been recalled to Penghu to be on duty for Typhoon Matmo.

Also among the victims were four members of a Greater Kaohsiung family.

Yen Kuang-chien (顏光健), his wife, Hsu Wen-ching (許文卿), and their daughter and son were traveling to Penghu to visit their parents and bring them back to Greater Kaohsiung to stay with the children during their summer vacation, neighbors said.

Another victim, Chen Cheng-lung (陳正龍), died after taking the day off to accompany his father to a funeral in Penghu.

Greater Kaohsiung Environmental Protection Bureau Deputy Director Chen Chu-feng (陳居豐) said Chen Cheng-lung had worked for him as a driver for almost five years and was a pragmatic and kind person.

One of the flight attendants killed in the crash, 24-year-old Wu Tsi-ying (吳姿瑩), had just joined the company seven months ago.

Wu reportedly posted a message online before the flight took off that read: “It is scary in Kaohsiung now because of strong wind and stormy rain.”

Another flight attendant who died, Kuo Ching-wei (郭晉瑋), had been getting ready to marry his fiancee in South Korea.

Six members of a Penghu family, surnamed Chen, who were aboard the flight were also killed.

More than 750 firefighters, military personnel and government workers were dispatched to the crash site to assist with rescue efforts, Hong said, adding that the heavy rain and darkness on Wednesday night had made rescue work difficult.

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