Sunday, December 28, 2014

Navy pilot hit by rotor improves

GREATER KAOHSIUNG: A navy helicopter pilot who was struck on the head by a spinning rotor blade earlier this month is in stable condition following brain surgery at a hospital in southern Taiwan, the Naval Fleet Command said yesterday.

The lieutenant commander pilot, surnamed Wei (魏), is conscious and has stable vital signs, the navy said.

Wei underwent brain surgery on Dec. 2 at the Zuoying Branch of the Kaohsiung Armed Forces General Hospital, where he was rushed after the incident involving a marine patrol helicopter at a naval base in Greater Kaohsiung.

He has been transferred to a regular ward at the hospital and his life is not in danger, the navy said.

On the day of the incident, Wei was preparing to take off on a training mission in a McDonnell Douglas 500MD/ASW Defender helicopter when a warning signal for an engine problem appeared.

He left the cockpit and went to the back of the helicopter to assist the technical staff, officials said at the time, adding that he apparently got too close to the spinning rotor blades and was struck on his head.

According to the navy’s preliminary findings in its ongoing investigation, Wei did not observe standard operating procedures when he went to assist the technical crew.

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