Taipei, July 14 (CNA) The Control Yuan has censured Army Command Headquarters for its negligence in the April crash of an AH-64E Apache attack helicopter in northern Taiwan but acknowledged that scientific investigations may find other culprits in the accident. Flight safety measures did not follow standard procedures and flight plans were not carried through, Chao Chang-ping, a member of the Control Yuan, told reporters. Chao said, however, that the attribution of responsibility for the accident should not depend solely on the Control Yuan report and should take into account the scientific investigations that are being carried out by Taiwan and the United States. After the April 25 crash, the Ministry of National Defense and the Army assembled a task force that includes U.S. technicians to help determine whether it was human error or mechanical failure that caused the crash in Taoyuan County. The Control Yuan is responsible for investigating and censuring illegal or improper behavior by civil servants, public officials or government agencies and does not have the capacity needed to analyze the techical factors in the crash. It also asked the Army to "correct" its operations by setting up a standard operating procedure to improve flight safety. The crashed Apache, one of 18 that have been delivered to Taiwan by the U.S. since last November, was conducting flight training when it crashed into the top of a three-story residential building in Longtan Township, damaging four homes but causing no serious injuries. The two pilots on board were unhurt except for minor scratches. The Army, meanwhile, is expected to release its report on the crash Tuesday. The Army completed the report over a month ago. but it has since been reviewed by the Cabinet-level Aviation Safety Council and Civil Aeronautics Administration and scholars and experts. Many observers believe that human error is most likely to be ruled the cause of the crash.
Flight instructor Maj. Chen Lung-chien said on April 25 that sudden changes in humidity and temperature fogged up the aircraft's windshield, forcing him to try to climb above the cloud ceiling as the helicopter's night-vision functions were rendered useless. With no point of reference amid the clouds, Chen said, he tried his best to keep the helicopter level, but the lack of visibility and the chopper's low altitude caused it to crash into the top of the building. (By Justin Su, Kelvin Huang and Christie Chen)