- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 19, 2008

SEOUL, South Korea | A helicopter carrying Washington Times founder the Rev. Sun Myung Moon and 15 others, including his wife and at least three grandchildren, crash landed and burst into flames on a mountain northeast of Seoul today.

Rev. Moon, 88, his wife, Hak Ja Han Moon and the others managed to flee the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter before it exploded into a giant fireball about 35 miles northeast of Seoul, according to news reports from the site.

Bad weather contributed to an emergency landing just over a mile from the chopper’s destination, a heliport atop Cheong Shim Hospital, which is owned by Rev. Moon’s Unification Church.

The hospital is part of a huge resort used for church workshops, the original destination of the passengers, who were taken to the hospital instead.

“Everyone is OK except for one lady, whose back was injured,” said one church member, who was attending a workshop at the resort when the crash landing occurred.

Church spokesman Dr. Chang Shik Yang said two passengers suffered minor injuries. Jiseon Lim, 30, is being treated for bruised vertebrae, and Mr. Kibyeong Youn for light abrasions.

Both are expected to make a full recovery, Dr. Yang said.

YTN television news showed one person being carried away from the smoldering wreckage on a stretcher.

In an official statement from the Unification Church in Korea, Dr. Yang said the helicopter was on its way from Seoul to the Cheon Jeong Goong Museum, located in Seorakmyeon, Kapyeonggun.

The helicopter left the Jamsil heliport at 4.40 p.m. and ran into sudden inclement weather about 20 minutes later and made an emergency landing on a nearby hill.

At the time of the crash, heavy rainfall and fog blanketed the area. A dense forest canopy at the crash site helped cushion the fall, police and fire officials told local media.

The crew and the other passengers, including Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, were treated and are resting and recuperating, Dr. Yang said.

Rev. Moon founded The Washington Times in 1982.

Church members believe he is the messiah sent to finish the uncompleted mission of Jesus Christ.

Rev. Moon has maintained a busy schedule of religious and charitable activities since returning to his homeland, Dr. Yang said..

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