Military helicopter crash kills two in Taiwan

China | 16 Jul 2020 6:55 pm

While participating in the ongoing Han Kuang military exercises in eastern Taiwan today, a Bell OH-58D Kiowa helicopter made a hard landing, killing both the pilot and co-pilot, Taiwan News reported.

The Aviation and Special Forces Command helicopter took off at 3:25pm (Taipei time), and only three minutes into the flight, for unknown reasons, it suddenly made a hard landing at Hsinchu Air Force Base. Both the pilot, Army Major Chien Jen-chuan, and the co-pilot, Captain Kao Chia-lung, suffered fatal injuries in the incident, announced the Ministry of National Defense.

The Hsinchu City Fire Bureau immediately dispatched firefighters to the scene, where they retrieved Chien and Kao and rushed them to nearby Hsin Chu Armed Force Hospital, where both succumbed to their injuries. Photos and video from the scene show the helicopter bursting into flames, and black smoke can be seen billowing high into the air.

The Army Command Headquarters said that it has set up a special task force that will include high-level officers to investigate the accident. The military has grounded all helicopters to implement special safety inspections and begin an investigation into the cause of the heavy landing.

This incident marks the third hard landing by an OH-58D Kiowa operated by Taiwan's military in two years. The previous two hard landings occurred in March of 2018 and May of this year, neither of which resulted in any fatalities.

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