Three soldiers killed, two injured in crash

TAIPEI - Penghu Defence Command (澎湖防衛司令部) yesterday confirmed three military personnel were killed and another two injured in the TransAsia Airways plane crash that occurred on the offshore island of Penghu Wednesday evening. A total of 48 were killed and 10 injured during the crash.

The three personnel victims are Tsai Ming-hua (蔡民華), a military police lieutenant-colonel of the Penghu Defence Command; Private Yang Ching-hsiang (楊景翔) of the Ministry of National Defence (MND), and Chou Yin-ting (周胤廷), a sergeant of the Army Aviation Special Forces Command, the Penghu Defence Command said.

The two injured are Naval petty officers Yen Wan-ju (顏婉茹) and Tsai Pei-ju (蔡佩儒). Yen is suffering from cervical dislocation and multiple contusions while Tsai is suffering from smoke inhalation and head injuries, the command said.

The two injured personnel were sent back to Taiwan from Penghu yesterday on a military C-130 transport plane to a military hospital in Kaohsiung for further medical treatment, it added.

The command said Tsai was originally scheduled to return to the base yesterday instead of Wednesday following a vacation. Instead he chose to head back to Penghu a day early and boarded flight GE222 to return to his duties and prepare for the aftermath of Typhoon Matmo, the command said.

Both Yang and Chou were also returning to duties at military units on the offshore island following a vacation, it added.

Meanwhile, the MND said yesterday that it will dispatch counselors to offer their services to military personnel who took part in the ongoing rescue mission in Penghu in case they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

A total of 200 soldiers from the Penghu Defence Command led by Commander General Chou Hau-yu (周皓瑜) have been conducting a rescue mission at the crash site since 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.