Church Founder Sun Myung Moon Released From Hospital After Helicopter Crash

Church Founder Sun Myung Moon Released From Hospital After Helicopter Crash

KwangTae Kim
July 19, 2008
Associated Press Writer AP

SEOUL, South Korea – 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 GaPyung, about 37 miles (60 kilometers) northeast of the capital.

Moon was released from Chungshim Hospital on Sunday, his spokesman Ahn Ho-yeul told The Associated Press.

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

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.

Moon 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 Moon’s followers believe he came into the world to complete the work of Jesus Christ.

In 2004, Moon was the center of a coronation ceremony in Washington, D.C., at which he declared himself the Messiah. He also became widely known for performing mass weddings of followers.