- The Washington Times - Monday, July 21, 2008

SEOUL | The founder of the Unification Church was released from a South Korean hospital Sunday, a day after he and 15 others were injured when their helicopter crashed on a mountain near Seoul.

The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, 88, was injured slightly when the Sikorsky S-92 helicopter crashed during an emergency landing and burst into flames in Gapyeong, about 37 miles northeast of the capital.

Rev. Moon was released from Cheongshim Hospital Sunday, his spokesman Ahn Ho-yeul told the Associated Press.

Also injured were Rev. Moon’s wife and other members of his family. His wife and several others remained hospitalized Sunday, Mr. Ahn said, but he did not give further details.

Rev. Moon and the others were “safe,” the church said in a brief statement on its Web site.

A South Korean transport ministry official said investigators recovered a cockpit recording device to help determine the cause of the crash.

A group of aviation experts from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board were scheduled to arrive in South Korea on Monday for a joint investigation, he said.

The official asked not to be identified by name because the investigation was not complete.

At the time of the crash, witnesses reported that heavy rainfall and fog blanketed the area.

A dense forest canopy where the craft went down helped to cushion its descent, police and fire officials told local news outlets.

The South Korean minister founded the Seoul-based Unification Church in the 1950s. It owns hundreds of companies around the world, including the United Press International news agency and The Washington Times newspaper.

The church’s doctrine is a mixture of Christian, Confucian and traditional Korean values, and Rev. Moon’s followers believe he came into the world to complete the work of Jesus Christ.

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