Taiwan military chief officer was killed in a helicopter crash on Thursday, the defence ministry said, days before theu go to the polls to elect a new president.
The chief of the general staff, Shen Yi-ming, was among eight senior officers including three major-generals who died when their Black Hawk helicopter smashed into mountains near Taipei.
The 62-year-old general and his entourage were on a routine mission to visit soldiers in northeast Yilan county when the incident happened.
Flags at all military units will fly at half-mast for three days as Shen was the highest-ranking military official to die while on official duty, the government said.
Lieutenant-general Tsao Ching-ping, one of five survivors, told rescuers in footage broadcast on local TV: “I am okay… two others are injured and only I can walk.”
“There is one more person who’s more seriously wounded and two or three people in the cabin … while two more with no signs of life.”
President Tsai Ing-wen’s office said that she will cancel all campaign activities for three days after the tragedy. The ruling Democratic Progressive Party will also suspend campaigning for three days.
Tsai is seeking a second term against Kaohsiung city mayor Han Kuo-yu of the Kuomintang (KMT) party in the January 11 elections when Taiwan will also elect a new parliament.