Fri, Apr 13, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Salvage team recovers part of helicopter, two bodies

Staff writer, with CNA

The midsection of a crashed army UH-60M Black Hawk is placed on the deck of a salvage ship off southeast Taiwan yesterday.

Photo courtesy of the Aviation Safety Council

Two bodies were yesterday found inside the wreckage of an army helicopter retrieved from the bottom of the ocean after it went missing on Feb. 5 while on a medical mission, Aviation Safety Council Executive Director Thomas Wang (王興中) said.

After starting at 5am yesterday, a salvage mission at about 2pm successfully retrieved the midsection of the UH-60 Black Hawk, which was previously believed to be on the seabed at a depth of about 1,000m off southeast Taiwan, Wang said.

Although the entire helicopter was not salvaged, two bodies were found inside the midsection, which is 7.6m long, 3.7m tall and 3.7m wide, he said.

The council plans to search the helicopter’s wreckage for the flight data recorder, which could provide more information about what happened to the aircraft, he added.

Prosecutor Lien Ssu-fan (連思藩) said the Taitung District Prosecutors’ Office was unable to identify the bodies, but sent them to Taitung County for comparison with the crew’s DNA samples on record.

The helicopter, which was sent from Taitung to Orchid Island (Lanyu, 蘭嶼), was carrying six people — a pilot, a copilot, an engineer, a flight nurse, a patient and a relative of the patient — on its return leg when it disappeared from radar.

After the wreckage has been searched for more bodies and hazardous items, it is to be shipped to Kaohsiung, council official Chang Wen-hua (張文環) said.

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