• Melo Acuna

Four dead in Basilan chopper mishap

Four Philippine Air Force personnel die in chopper crash

MANILA – A Sikorshy-76A helicopter crashed in a village outside Lantawan town, Basilan province in southern Philippines killing its four crew members.

Initial reports said soldiers from the 4th Special Forces battalion have proceeded to the crash site and conducted retrieval operations.

In a statement, Lt. Col. Aristides M. Galang, Jr., PAF Public Information Chief said the helicopter was part of the 505th Search and Rescue Group “Angels”. He said the crew received a directive to do a medical evacuation mission in Jolo and took off from Zamboanga City at 12:33 P.M.

At 1:24 P.M., the PAF Headquarters in Manila received reports of a helicopter that crashed in Basilan and responding government troops confirmed it was the S-76A #202 helicopter originally bound for Jolo.

The PAF immediately informed the bereaved families of the crew and the remains were retrieved and brought to Zamboanga City. The victims’ identities were released as of this writing.

Philippine Air Force chief Lt. General Allen T. Paredes has ordered the inspection of the remaining two S-76A aircraft. A team will be sent to the area to conduct further investigation into the mishap, Lt. Col. Galang said. (Melo M. Acuña)

Sikorsky-76A AirAmbulance/Philippine Air Force (Wikipedia photo)

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