ARVN Gen. Phan Dinh Soan Killed in Helicopter Crash

Saigon VIETNAM PRESS in English Morning Edition 28 Feb 72

[Text] Saigon, Feb 26 (VP)—ARVN spokesman Lt Col Le Trung Hien Saturday afternoon said Brig Gen Phan Dinh Soan, deputy commander of the I Military Region was killed in a helicopter accident in the Da Nang open sea, about 20-kms from the shore.

At a regular briefing at the National Press Center, Lt Col Hien made known that the USAF helicopter carrying aboard Brig Gen Soan, Col Ngo Han Dong, I MR artillery commander and an aide-de-camp of Gen Soan, hit the antenna tower of the warship the Brig General had just visited and fell into the sea.

Meanwhile, a U.S. spokesman said the search of the victims’ bodies took place immediately after the accident but so far only the remains of three American crewmen were found.

Thus, another American crewman, Brig Gen Soan, his aide-de-camp and Col Dong were still reportedly missing.(*)

Brig Gen Soan, former commander of the artillery force, just replaced Maj Gen Nguyen Van Hieu as I MR deputy commander last Feb 21.

A native of Hue, Brig Gen Soan, 43, was graduated from the 1st Thu Duc artillery class and underwent many staff service training courses.

[Courtesy of Vietnam Center Archive – Douglas Pike Collection – Unit 08. I found this document on April 7, 2006]

(*) On August 1, 2005, Colonel Ngo Han Dong’s spouse, I Corps Artillery Commander who died while accompanying Brigadier General Phan Dinh Soan on 2/25/1972, requested that I make the correction in that the helicopter did not explode in the air, but rather crashed inland after being heavily damaged due to a collision with an antenna pole when it took off from the American battleship deck. The families were able to recover the bodies of both Major General Soan and Brigadier General Dong (posthumously promoted).

ARVN Generals