Eight people have been killed in a helicopter crash in Taiwan – including the country’s top military general, Air Force General Shen Yi-ming, Taiwan’s chief of general staff.
The tragedy came after the chopper attempted to make an emergency landing in Taipei.
In a statement, Taiwan’s defence ministry said it had sent a team to rescue the 13 people aboard the Black Hawk helicopter.
State media later reported eight had been killed, including Shen Yi-ming.
The aircraft made the emergency landing in New Taipei City after aviation authorities lost contact with it at 8.22am.
The incident comes a week before democratic Taiwan holds presidential and parliamentary elections on January 11.
President Tsai Ing-wen, who is seeking re-election, cancelled election campaign activities scheduled for Thursday, and urged authorities to make every effort for the rescue.
The United States, which has no diplomatic ties with Taiwan but is its strongest international backer and main arms supplier, sold it 60 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters in 2010.
It was not immediately clear whether the helicopter involved in Thursday’s incident was one of these.
China, which claims Taiwan as its territory to be brought under Beijing’s control by force if necessary, regularly calls the island the most sensitive issue in its ties with the United States.
Taiwan says it is an independent country called the Republic of China, its official name.