One dead from Western Pacific helicopter collision with purse seiner

A fisherman is dead and another injured following a helicopter crash into a fishing vessel in the western Pacific ocean on Sunday.

The helicopter from a purse seine fishing vessel crashed into another purse seiner while the vessels were fishing near the Marshall Islands, seriously injuring a Chinese fisherman, 48-year old Shuiyao Wang, who died at sea two days later.

The Filipino pilot, Thomas Bustos, 51, was brought to Majuro yesterday by the Taiwan fishing boat Fong Kuo 869 and is being treated for injuries at Majuro Hospital.

The United States Embassy in Majuro confirmed that the incident involved both a US-flagged and a Taiwan-flagged purse seine fishing vessel.

Police in Majuro, as well as the US Coast Guard, are investigating the incident.

In addition to bringing the injured pilot to Majuro, the Fong Kuo 869 dropped off the damaged helicopter.

Purse seine fishing vessels routinely use helicopters to search for schools of tuna.


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