Award winning documentary maker Chi Po-lin (齊柏林) was killed along with a production-assistant and the pilot, when a helicopter crashed in Hualian County this morning.
Chi was known for his documentary “Beyond Beauty-Taiwan From Above,” which won Best Documentary Award at the 2013 Golden Horse Awards, and grossed NT$220 million (US$7.3 million) at the box office, making it the highest-grossing documentary in Taiwan history.
On Thursday, the 52 year-old filmmaker had announced that he was working on a sequel to Taiwan From Above. The new film would include footage from Japan, New Zealand, Malaysia, and China, to emphasize that environmental issues should not be constrained by national borders.
The Bell helicopter, belonging to the Emerald Pacific Airlines crashed near Fengbin Township’s Changhong (Rainbow) Bridge at around 11:50am. Residents called 119 after hearing an explosion and finding a helicopter had crashed and was burning on a farm.
The fuselage was completely incinerated, leaving only the tail of the aircraft intact. Three bodies were found at the crash site. The deceased were later identified as Chi Po-lin, Zhang Zhi-guang (張志光, pilot, 53), and the director’s assistant Chen Guan-qi (陳冠齊, 25).
President Tsai Ing-wen offered condolences on her Facebook page and said that Taiwan had suffered a great loss. Tsai said that Chi had led people to see the good in Taiwan and to get involved in conservation.