Military chopper crashes on building

No one was killed when the Apache helicopter crashed into the building.

Looking at the wreckage, it seems unlikely that anybody could have survived yesterday's crash.

But two Taiwanese pilots managed to escape with minor injuries after their Apache attack helicopter crash-landed on a building in northern Taiwan.

The incident happened during a routine training mission, said Taiwan's military.

The impact partly damaged the building in Taoyuan county and two adjoining houses, AFP reported.

The pilots had slight facial and leg injuries and were taken to hospital. No civilians were hurt.

Television footage showed uniformed men inspecting the wreckage on top of the building.

Army deputy commander Wang Hsing-wei said all Apache helicopters have been grounded for inspections.

It is the second time the aircraft have been grounded for safety checks since they came into service in December.

A special team will investigate if the incident was caused by weather, the crew or mechanical problems, Deputy Comm Wang said.

The pilot, Major Chen Lung-chien, told a press conference that the helicopter had been "in clouds and mist, and my cockpit window fogged".

"I couldn't see the location and it all happened very fast and suddenly I saw a row of barriers."

The Taiwanese army is the first force outside the US to use the Apache AH-64E, the latest variant of what is described as the world's most powerful attack helicopter.

But Taiwan temporarily grounded the choppers from December to February for checks after the US warned that the model could malfunction.

This article was published on April 26 in The New Paper.

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