Tue, Mar 17, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Pingtung airplane crash kills two

‘UNFORTUNATE ACCIDENT’:The pilot was a licensed trainer, while the US-built Rans Designs aircraft was imported by the Chinese Taipei Microlight Association

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The tail of a light trainer aircraft that crashed into Dapeng Bay in Pingtung County rises above the water yesterday.

Photo: Hou Cheng-hsu, Taipei Times

A lightweight aircraft plunged into Dapeng Bay in Pingtung County yesterday morning, killing both people on board.

The victims were identified as 66-year-old pilot Ke Ming-hsiu (柯銘修) and 32-year-old trainee Yang Tsung-ru (楊宗儒).

An initial police investigation showed that the Rans Designs S-6 lightweight aircraft, Flight No. PA 2002, took off from an airstrip at Dapeng Bay at 10:10am. It was reported to have fallen into the lagoon at 10:40am.

According to rescuers, the aircraft was almost submerged, forcing them to dive beneath the surface to retrieve the victims.

Ke and Yang were sent to Fuying University Hospital and Antai Tian-Sheng Memorial Hospital respectively. Both were pronounced dead before 12pm after sustaining severe head injuries.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said that it has informed the Aviation Safety Council, which is in charge of investigating the causes of aircraft crashes nationwide.

Records from the administration showed that the aircraft was manufactured in 1997 by US-based Rans Inc and imported by the Chinese Taipei Microlight Association in February 2007.

The association also secured CAA proof that the aircraft had passed inspection, with the current proof valid until Aug. 30 this year.

The administration added that Ke maintained a license to operate a lightweight aircraft that would not expire until Aug. 21 next year.

The pilot was qualified to train students and to administer flying tests as well, it added.

The association was established in September 2004. The association used the air space at Donggang Township (東港) at the Dapeng Bay National Scenic Area to fly lightweight airplanes after its event manual was approved by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and Sports Administration in July 2007.

Deputy Minister Tseng Dar-jen (曾大仁) said that this was an unfortunate accident, adding that the government would address related safety issues after the council concludes its investigation.

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