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(2nd LD) Firefighting helicopter crashes, killing 2 mountain climbers

All News 17:03 May 01, 2020

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; UPDATES with more info throughout)

SEOUL, May 1 (Yonhap) -- A firefighting helicopter on a rescue mission crashed Friday into Mount Jiri in southern South Korea, killing two mountain climbers.

The chopper crashed into the Cheonwangbong Peak of the mountain in Sancheong County, South Gyeongsang Province, around 12:07 p.m., according to the fire authorities.

The crash occurred when the helicopter was flying low while carrying out a hoist rescue of a 65-year-old man who suffered heart failure while climbing.

The man fell down along with the chopper and his wife was struck by the helicopter's main blade as she assisted the rescue on the mountain.

The couple died after being transported to hospital.

The five rescue workers did not sustain serious injuries as the chopper was flying low for the mission.

Footage filmed by the fire service showed the chopper losing its balance and crashing after the rope connecting the stretcher and the helicopter appeared to become caught in an unknown object.

Fire authorities are investigating to determine the exact cause of the accident.

This photo, provided by the National Fire Agency, shows a firefighting helicopter that crashed into Mount Jiri in the southern province of South Gyeongsang on May 1, 2020, while on a mission to rescue people at the mountain. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

brk@yna.co.kr
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