Taiwan’s top general has been confirmed dead after a helicopter made an emergency landing in northern Taiwan, the island’s defence ministry said on Thursday, reports Aljazeera.
Chief of general staff General Shen Yi-ming and seven other people were killed after the UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter crashed in mountains near Taipei, according to defence ministry spokesman Shih Shun-wen.
Shen, 62, and several top military officials were on a routine mission to visit soldiers in the northeast Yilan county before the lunar new year later this month.
For a few hours following the crash, the fate of Taiwan’s top general was unclear, with conflicting reports claiming that he was among the five people who survived, while another said he remained missing.
Five others have been rescued.
“Five have survived while the other eight of our colleagues on board were killed. We are deeply saddened … and give our condolences to their families,” Air Force Commander Hsiung Hou-chi told reporters.
President Tsai Ing-wen’s office announced that she will cancel all campaign activities for three days after the tragedy.
“As commander-in-chief President Tsai and the cabinet team will focus on the rescue operations as well as clarifying the cause of the incident,” it said in a statement.