A man is dead and another critically injured after their helicopter crashed into the sea while assisting a TS Lines containership, which had run aground in northern Taiwan, reports say.
The New Taipei Fire Department identified the deceased as Tsai Chung-ta, a 35-year-old special services officer with the Coast Guard, who may have been hit by the helicopter’s rotor, according to national press reports. Video of the crash is below.
The helicopter’s pilot is in critical condition and is undergoing emergency care at Taipei Veterans General Hospital, the fire department said.
The other three people onboard the chopper were all rescued within 90 minutes of the crash, which occurred at 13:18hrs (local time). None of them are believed to have serious injuries.
The helicopter was carrying an engineer and two Coast Guard specialists out to meet TS Lines’ containership TS Taipei (1,530 teu, built 2006), which had run aground and was reportedly leaking heavy fuel oil from its bunker tanks.
Harsh weather conditions caused the small boxship to run aground 300 metres from the coast in the early hours of Thursday morning, local press reports say. The ship reportedly suffered breaches in the aft of its hull and its engine room had flooded.
All 21 of the freighter’s crew members were airlifted to safety on Thursday after they abandoned ship on the captain’s orders, as Splash reported earlier.
TS Taipei was on its way from Keelung in Taiwan to Hong Kong before the incident.