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Seven People Died in Korean Army`s Helicopter Crash

Posted August. 14, 2003 21:40,   


A 12-seater UH 1H helicopter from Army Aviation Strategy HQ crashed into a rice field in front of farm product storage facility in Yeongcheon, Gyeongbuk at 11:50 AM, on the 14th. All crew members, including the pilot sub-officer Ho-jun Bang(40), were killed in the accident.

The helicopter crashed just 5 minutes after take-off from the Yeongcheon base to supply fuel and return to Andong, Gyeongbuk after a military training mission to operate a communication junction center.

The airframe suffered heavy damage in the accident, but it did not explode. There were no civilian injuries or deaths reported. All 7 soldiers are enshrined in the Korean Army Hospital in Daegu.

The spot where the helicopter crashed is a rice field between national road #28 and the central line, about 50 meters away from civilian houses, and 100 meters away from the railroad.

Mr. Won-myeong Kim (23, office worker) who witnessed the accident said, “I heard a strange sound while driving and saw the helicopter crashing into a concrete ridge that is built to separate the rice field from the railroad lines. Then, it crashed onto the ground. I couldn`t hear the propeller spinning.”

A Ministry of National Defense member said, “Sub-officer Bang has been flying for 15 years, with 3,571 hours of flight time. Most of the time, he flew a UH-1H. The accident may not have occurred due to inexperience.”

This person also said that the helicopter in the accident was manufactured in 1967, but the parts had been exchanged consistently. The engine is exchanged every 2,000 hours of flight time, and the helicopter had flown 1,148 hours.” Army authorities stopped all helicopter operations and started safety inspections.

▽List of fatalities △21 Aviation Corps=Captain Dong-il Lee (31·Assistant pilot), Sub-officer Bang, Sergeant Gyeong-tae Han (25) PFC Jong-meyong Jeon (22) △70 Division Communication Battalion=Lieutenant Hyeon-hwan Jeong (25) corporal Jun-yeol Goh(21) PFC Ji-seong Ham (20)

choi@donga.com srkim@donga.com