Ten crew killed after two Malaysian Navy helicopters collide in midair

The two helicopters were practising for an aerial display at the naval base of Lumut at the time of the incident.

Ten crew members have been killed after two Malaysian navy helicopters collided in midair and crashed to the ground.

The Royal Malaysian Navy said in a statement that the two aircraft collided on Tuesday morning as they were taking part in aerial training in northern Lumut, where the navy has its headquarters.

One helicopter, an Agusta Westland AW139 Maritime Operations Helicopter (HOM), crashed near the raised seating of the stadium at the complex while the second, a Eurocopter Fennec, fell near a swimming pool.

The navy said there were seven crew on board the Agusta and three on the Eurocopter. All were confirmed dead at the scene of the crash, which took place at about 9.30am (01:30 GMT)

The navy “will establish an investigation board to determine the cause of the incident”, it said.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim described the incident as a “heart-wrenching tragedy” and confirmed an investigation would take place.

Videos shared on social media showed several helicopters flying above a stadium with several troops in formation in a stadium below.

One helicopter appears to hit the rear rotor of another before both plunge to the ground.

The helicopter crews were practising for next week’s Navy Day celebrations which start on May 3.

Malaysia has seen a number of helicopter crashes over the past decade.

In 2015, Jamaluddin Jarjis, then Malaysia’s ambassador to the United States and a former government minister, was among five people killed when their helicopter crashed into jungle in central Selangor state.

The following a year, six people were killed when their helicopter crashed in the Borneo state of Sarawak. The dead included then Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Noriah Kasnon.

In 2020, two people were killed after two helicopters clipped each other and crashed to the east of Kuala Lumpur.

In August last year, 10 people were killed after a private jet crashed onto a highway on the city’s west. The dead included a senior politician from the central state of Pahang and his aide, as well as two people on the ground.

Source: Al Jazeera