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2 killed in South Korean helicopter crash during Taiwan rescue mission

South Korean Coast Guard helicopter was searching for missing tug boat crew near Taiwan coast

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South Korea Coast Guard Sikorsky S-92 helicopter. (Lockheed Martin photo)

South Korea Coast Guard Sikorsky S-92 helicopter. (Lockheed Martin photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Two South Korean Coast Guard members are dead and one is missing after their helicopter crashed during a mission to search for crew members of a South Korean ship off the coast of Taiwan.

Yonhap News Agency cited officials as saying that a South Korean Coast Guard Sikorsky S-92 helicopter crashed 370 kilometers southwest of Mara Island at 1:32 a.m. on Friday (April 8). The pair identified as having died from the crash are a 51-year-old co-pilot surnamed Chung and a 28-year-old vessel radar operator surnamed Hwang.

A 42-year-old mechanic surnamed Cha is also missing, while the aircraft's 47-year-old pilot surnamed Choi was rescued by a South Korean Coast Guard patrol boat. His injuries are not deemed to be life-threatening.

South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said a tug boat carrying six South Koreans went missing off the coast of Taiwan and that patrol ships and helicopters were dispatched to support the search and rescue mission. The crashed helicopter had just deployed six rescue personnel onto a patrol boat on its way to waters near Taiwan to aid with search and rescue efforts for the missing South Korean crew members.

The helicopter was to fly to Busan, but the accident occurred shortly after takeoff from the coast guard vessel. A total of 17 ships have been mobilized to search for the missing crewmen.