(Taipei) – Taiwan´s military chief was killed in a helicopter crash, the defence ministry said, just days before the island goes to polls to elect a new president.
The chief of the general staff, Shen Yi-ming, was among eight senior officers — including three major-generals — who died when their Black Hawk helicopter smashed into mountains near Taipei.
The 62-year-old general and his entourage were on a routine mission to visit soldiers in northeast Yilan county for the upcoming Lunar New Year when the incident happened.
Flags at all military units will fly at half-mast for three days as Shen was the highest-ranking military official to die while on official duty, the government said.
Lieutenant-general Tsao Ching-ping, one of five survivors, told rescuers in footage broadcast on local TV: “I am okay… two others are injured and only I can walk.”
“There is one more person who´s more seriously wounded and two or three people in the cabin… two more with no signs of life.”
President Tsai Ing-wen´s office said she would cancel all campaign activities for three days after the tragedy. The ruling Democratic Progressive Party will also suspend campaigning for three days.