Taipei-The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) on Thursday expressed its condolences to the families of the eight people, including Taiwan's armed forces top officer, who died in a military helicopter crash in New Taipei earlier in the day.
"We are deeply saddened by this morning's tragic helicopter crash, which took the lives of eight passengers, including Chief of the General Staff General Shen Yi-Ming," the AIT said in a statement.
Shen, 62, along with 12 other military personnel, was traveling on the UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter to a military base in Dong'ao, Yilan County, for a pre-Lunar New Year inspection, when the aircraft crashed in the mountains of Wulai, killing eight of the people on board. The other five were later pulled alive from the wreckage and taken to hospital.
In the AIT's message on its website, it expressed wishes for the swift recovery of the survivors and extended condolences to the relatives of those who died.
"On behalf of the United States of America, the American Institute in Taiwan extends its deepest condolences to the families, colleagues, and communities of those lost in the crash; we wish the survivors a quick and full recovery," the AIT said.
In the message, AIT Director Brent Christensen paid tribute to Shen, saying he was a valued leader, colleague and friend.
"I was privileged to work closely with General Shen in our joint efforts to strengthen the U.S.-Taiwan security relationship," Christensen said, adding that the army chief will be truly missed.
The AIT, the de facto U.S. embassy in Taiwan, said it stands ready to assist its Taiwan counterparts in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Apart from Shen, the other confirmed fatalities were Political Warfare Bureau Deputy Director Major General Yu Chin-wen (???), Major General Hung Hung-chun (???) of the Office of the Deputy Chief of the General Staff for Intelligence, Major Huang Sheng-hang (???) of the Office of the Chief of the General Staff, Chief Master Sergeant Han Cheng-hung (???), pilot Lieutenant Colonel Yeh Chien-yi (???), co-pilot Captain Liu Chen-fu (???), and chief engineer Master Sergeant Hsu Hung-pin (???).
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel