Republic of China (Taiwan) Air Force Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter crashed in a forest in mountainous terrain.
Taiwan’s top military official was among eight people killed on Thursday when their Black Hawk helicopter crashed in mountains in the north of the island.
Gen. Shen Yi-ming, 62, the Taiwan military’s chief of general staff, was en route to visit troops when the UH-60M helicopter disappeared from radar near New Taipei City while carrying 13 people, including the crew.
Shen was confirmed dead along with seven other people on board, Lt. Gen. Hsiung Hou-chi of Taiwan’s air force told a news conference Thursday afternoon. Five people survived.
Taiwan’s air force sent two more Black Hawk helicopters and about 80 soldiers to the scene near Tonghou Creek in Wulai, the official Central News Agency reported.
The helicopter took off from Songshan airbase in Taipei at 07:54 local time (23:54 GMT), bound for a military base at Dong’ao in Yilan county for an inspection, Focus Taiwan said.
It made the emergency landing after aviation authorities lost contact with it at 08:22, the defence ministry said.
?? Eight people including the chief of Taiwan’s armed forces were killed Thursday after the Black Hawk carrying them crashed on a mountainside during a routine trip. pic.twitter.com/R0WiiRBtRM
— air plus news (english) (@airplusnews_EN) January 2, 2020
A search and rescue team tried to get to the scene as quickly as possible but efforts were complicated by the terrain, an official told the BBC.
The US sold 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters in 2010. It was not immediately clear whether the helicopter in Thursday’s incident was one of them.