Pilot loses arm in offshore Kinmen helicopter crash


AFP & CNA

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A 49-year-old pilot lost his right arm Saturday when an emergency medical helicopter crashed on landing on an island controlled by Taiwan. Two other men were also injured in the accident which closed Shanyi airport on Kinmen island, which lies just off the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian, for nearly 12 hours.

The pilot, Hsu Tsu-wen, lost most of his arm in the crash and the rest was amputated by doctors. The helicopter, carrying only the three men, was returning to Kinmen after flying a patient to Taiwan late on Friday.

“The three people are in stable condition. We plan to send two helicopters to Kinmen to transport them back to Taiwan for better medical treatment,” Chang Yun-kuo, vice president of Sunrise Airlines, said.

The Taipei-based Sunrise Airlines, established in 1992, operates mainly commercial helicopter flight services.

Kinmen’s Shangyi Airport was reopened at 1:00 p.m. Saturday. Hung Nien-tzi, director of the Kinmen airport terminal, said his office had asked the Executive Yuan’s Aviation Safety Council to send its inspectors to Kinmen to launch a probe into the crash, but added that the airport had been enveloped in dense fog since 10 a.m. Saturday, which had delayed the inspectors’ arrival.

He said that his office took photographs of the wreckage for a preliminary probe.

On Saturday morning, the airport was crowded with hundreds of passengers who planned to fly to Taiwan proper for the weekend.