helicopter crash has claimed the lives of eight military officers in Taiwan including its top military official.
The Black Hawk helicopter went down in an apparent emergency landing in the mountains outside of New Taipei City on Thursday morning. The reason for the emergency landing has not yet been reported.
On board the chopper was Shen Yi-ming, Taiwan’s Chief of the General Staff. Shen becomes the highest-ranking general in Taiwan’s history to die while on duty. Also among the dead were two major generals and a lieutenant colonel. Five people reportedly survived the crash.
The officers were on their way to a military base in north-east Taiwan. The helicopter took off from Taipei at 7:54 am before losing contact with aviation authorities at 08:22 am. A search and rescue team was quickly dispatched.
The United States sold Taiwan 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters back in 2010. It’s not immediately clear if it was one of those helicopters that crashed. In 2018, six people were killed in another Black Hawk helicopter crash off Taiwan’s east coast.
Global Times editor Hu Xijin has taken the opportunity to mock Taiwan’s military.
Eight people died, this is unfortunate. Even the chief of general staff couldn't escape the misfortune, which reflects the poor reliability of Taiwan's military equipment. It doesn't look like an army that has good combat capability. https://t.co/GcSCLu4dWd
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) January 2, 2020
The crash occurs just a week before Taiwan’s presidential election is set to take place (Jan 11). President Tsai Ing-wen has said that she will suspend her re-election campaign for three days while her rival, the Kuomintang’s Han Kuo-yu has canceled a trip that was scheduled for Friday.