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Taiwan chief of staff killed in copter crash

General Shen Yi-ming, 63, was responsible for overseeing Taiwan’s defense against China

Contrary to earlier reports, General Shen Yi-Ming, Taiwan’s chief of staff was one of eight people killed on Thursday, when their helicopter crashed near New Taipei City.

Five people survived. A spokesman told CNN Shen was initially found conscious by a search team from the New Taipei City fire department and sent to hospital.

The helicopter made an emergency landing in the mountains near Taipei after taking off on a routine mission to visit soldiers in the northeast Yilan country ahead of the lunar new year.

The incident comes a week before Taiwan holds presidential and parliamentary elections on January 11.

President Tsai Ing-wen, who is seeking re-election, cancelled all campaign activities until Saturday, promising a swift rescue operation.