The crew chief of an S-70C anti-submarine helicopter that crashed in Kaohsiung two days ago died on Thursday night, hours after his family agreed to a do-not-resuscitate order, the navy said.
The 37-year-old crew chief, Master Sergeant Liu Shang-chun (劉尚鈞), was declared dead at his home in Taoyuan at 11:01pm, hours after his family took Liu home from the Zuoying Branch of Kaohsiung Armed Forces General Hospital, where he had been treated, the navy said on Thursday.
The helicopter made a hard landing on the tarmac of the Kaohsiung Zuoying naval base on Wednesday at about 4pm, injuring all four crew members, it said.
Liu was in critical condition after the crash, sustaining second and third-degree burns over 95 percent of his body along with a subarachnoid hemorrhage — bleeding in the space between the brain and its surrounding membrane.
The other three crew were are in stable condition after being treated at the hospital, including the chief inspector officer, surnamed Kuo (郭), who sustained second and third-degree burns over 20 percent of his body, the navy said.
The crash was likely caused by a mechanical failure in the tail rotor, based on accounts of air traffic controllers and the helicopter’s pilots, Navy Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Chiang Cheng-kuo (蔣正國) told a news conference earlier on Thursday, adding that the cause is to be determined pending further investigation.
The Naval Antisubmarine Aviation Group’s 18 S-70Cs have been grounded pending safety checks.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) was deeply saddened by the news of Liu’s death, the Presidential Office said in a statement yesterday.
Tsai has instructed the Ministry of National Defense to thoroughly probe the incident and help Liu’s family deal with the aftermath of his passing, Presidential Office spokesman Xavier Chang (張惇涵) said in the statement.
Wednesday’s crash was the fourth involving military aircraft this year, following crashes of an F-16, a Mirage 2000 fighter and an AT-3 trainer.
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