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July 28, 2017

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Dapeng aircraft crew members still missing three days after crash

The China Post news staff--While the suspected location of the missing Dapeng Airlines BN-2 aerial survey aircraft has been confirmed by the Kaohsiung Fire Bureau to be around the border between Hualien's Zhouxi Township and Kaohsiung's Taoyuan District, rescuers have yet to locate the missing crew after 72 hours.

Yesterday morning, the Hualien County Fire Bureau (HCFB) was forced to halt its aerial rescue operation, as the missing aircraft's location was unknown.

According to authorities, a rescue helicopter was scheduled to take off yesterday morning. However, with the helicopter unable to land in mountainous areas, the HCFB changed its plan and instead dispatched a ground search and rescue team.

The Dapeng Airlines survey craft was reported missing after setting off to conduct an aerial photography mission over Northeastern Taiwan, according to the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA).

Though the HCFB had deployed two ground search teams to locate missing pilot Hsuey Chen-hao, co-pilot Chang Ming-chin and aerial photographer Chien Yu-hsin, it was still unclear whether the crew survived the crash.

As of noon Thursday, the HCFB reported possible locations of the missing aircraft as Batongguan Trail and To-Tu-kun. However, as of Thursday night, the authorities had reported that, according to radar signals, the aircraft had possibly crashed in Kaohsiung. Therefore, the HCFB suspected the aircraft's location could be on the southern side of A Pu-lang Mountain.

The direct distance between the southern side of A Pu-lang and To-Tu-kun is estimated to be about 4 kilometers, which may require up to several days for ground search teams to reach.

By Thursday afternoon, 14 ground rescuers had been assigned to conduct a rescue operation. Three of the rescuers returned from the search party but 11 were continuing the search as of press time.

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