The “Magpie 2,” the first firefighter helicopter introduced to the nation some 40 years ago, will be registered as South Korea’s cultural heritage. The Korean Cultural Heritage Administration and the National Fire Agency announced Thursday that they will designate the Magpie 2 helicopter and a traditional firefighting pump as cultural heritage. The heritage administration will make the final decision after getting an approval from the cultural heritage committee after 30 days of preliminary period.
The Magpie 2 is one of the two firefighting helicopters introduced by Seoul Fire and Air Service in December 1979. Since it first embarked on rescue operation in 1980, the Korean chopper was mobilized over 3,000 times until it went out of service in June 2005, setting a record of accumulated flight time at 2,983 hours and 45 minutes.
According to the data from the National Fire Service, the Magpie 2 rescued five people from the fire at Lotte building in December 1983 and saved the lives of 630 from the flood in Gangdong District in September 1984. The helicopter was also put in action in the wake of the collapses of the Seongsu Bridge and the Sampoong Department Store in 1994. The Magpie 1, its twin helicopter, was decommissioned after crash
Operated manually, the firefighting pump was made in Korea in the 1950s. The pump, which is carried on a cart and needs to be removed by hand for operation, was the only fire extinguisher available in the country before fire trucks and portable fire extinguishers were introduced. “The two heritages not only played pivotal roles in saving lives and but epitomized the history of Korea’s fire extinguishers,” said an official from the Cultural Heritage Administration.
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