Survivors of Black Hawk crash continue to improve: hospital

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TSGH superintendent Tsai Chien-sung. (CNA photo)

TSGH superintendent Tsai Chien-sung. (CNA photo)

The five survivors of the Black Hawk helicopter crash last week are progressing well, with one of them expected to be discharged from hospital Wednesday (Jan. 8) and two others moved from intensive care units (ICU) to general wards Monday (Jan. 6), the hospital said.

The five survivors -- Vice Admiral Huang Yu-min (黃佑民), Lieutenant General Tsao Chin-ping (曹進平), Major General Liu Hsiao-tang (劉孝堂), Lieutenant Colonel Chou Hsin-yi (周欣頤) and Military News Agency reporter Sergeant Chen Ying-chu (陳映竹) -- have been in Tri-Service General Hospital (TSGH) in Taipei since Jan. 2, when the UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter crashed in the mountains of Wulai in New Taipei.

Huang and Chen, who suffered severe injuries, were moved from intensive care to the general wards on Monday morning, as they have been making "better than expected" progress, TSGH superintendent Tsai Chien-sung (蔡建松) told reporters.

Huang sustained compression fractures of the spine, fractured left ribs, and slight contusion of the lungs, while Chen's left leg was crushed and she also suffered a lumbar fracture and facial lacerations, according to the hospital.

Tsao, who had only minor injuries, is due to be discharged from hospital on Wednesday, Tsai said.

The other three survivors are on the general wards in stable condition and are receiving physical therapy to speed up their recovery from contusions and muscle strain, Tsai said.

The hospital is also keeping a close eye on their psychological state following the traumatic accident, he said, adding they appear to be in stable condition.

Apart from Tsao, the survivors are likely to remain in hospital for at least two to four weeks, according to Tsai.

The UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter, carrying military personnel to a base in Dong'ao, Yilan County for a pre-Lunar New Year inspection, went down in the mountains of Wulai District on Thursday morning, with 13 people on board.

Eight of them, including Taiwan's top military officer Chief of General Staff Shen Yi-ming (沈一鳴), died in the crash.

The cause of the accident has not yet been determined and is still under investigation, according to the defense ministry.