TAIPEI (The China Post/ANN) – The ROC military’s Chief of General Staff Shen Yi-ming (沈一鳴) died on Thursday in a helicopter emegency landing, the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement.
Shen, 62, is the highest-ranking military leader in Taiwan to die while conducting his official duties. He was on board a UH-60M Black Hawk that took off from Songshan air force base in Taipei at 7:54 a.m. The chopper was bound for a military base at Yilan’s Dong’ao as part of a pre-Lunar New Year inspection.
Five people were rescued and eight were confirmed dead aboard the helicopter that came down in New Taipei’s mountainous Wulai District. The helicopter disappeared from radar screens at around 8:07 a.m. before making an abortive forced landing in the mountains, according to the ministry.
The five survivors have been identified as Lieutenant General Huang Yu-min (黃佑民), Lieutenant General Tsao Chin-ping (曹進平), Major General Liu Hsiao-tang (劉孝堂), Lieutenant Colonel Chou Hsin-yi (周欣頤) and Military News Agency reporter Chen Ying-chu (陳映竹).
The seven other confirmed fatalities were Political Warfare Bureau Deputy Director Major General Yu Chin-wen (于親文), Major General Hung Hung-chun (洪鴻鈞) of the Office of the Deputy Chief of the General Staff for Intelligence, Major Huang Sheng-hang (黃聖航) of the Office of the Chief of the General Staff, Chief Master Sergent Han Cheng-hung (韓正宏), chopper pilot Lieutenant Colonel Yeh Chien-yi (葉建儀), co-pilot Captain Liu Cheng-fu (劉鎮富), and Crew Chief Master Sergeant Hsu Hung-pin (許鴻彬).
The reason for the incident remained unknown as of press time. The aircraft is one of 60 UH-60M Black Hawks sold to Taiwan by the U.S. in 2010. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) has ordered all military agencies fly the national flag at half-mast as a sign of mourning.