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No charges for Kaohsiung airport officials over horn incident

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Kaohsiung International Airport officials were not charged for injuring a farmer surnamed Shen when, in the course of performing their assigned duties, they blew horns to drive birds away from the airport, the Kaohsiung District Prosecutors Office said yesterday.

According to prosecutors, on Jan. 31, 2013, three airport officials driving near the airport in a vehicle equipped with pneumatic horns activated the horns to disperse birds in a safety measure designed to prevent the birds from colliding with aircraft.

Shen said that he was working in his field outside the airport as a sudden blast from the horns caused his left eardrum to explode, causing bleeding and seriously damaging the hearing in his left ear.

Prosecutors said that after the three officials received a report from Shen, they immediately took him to a nearby hospital.

According to prosecutors, the three officials all denied negligently causing Shen's injury while performing their duties, saying that they were operating the vehicle within the airport boundaries.

The prosecutors said that findings from a decibel test indicated that the volume of the horns did not exceed limits specified in regulations, below which damage to human bodies is not possible.

According to prosecutors, instead of calling 119, Shen first contacted the airport and made a nine-minute-long phone call with his insurance company before he was sent to a hospital.

Prosecutors said that based on the evidence, Shen's accusation was flawed, so the three officials were not charged.

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