KUALA LUMPUR: Two Malaysian military helicopters collided and crashed during a training session on Tuesday, killing all 10 crew onboard, the country’s rescue agency said.

Footage shared online showed several helicopters flying low in formation over the Lumut naval base, located about 160km from Kuala Lumpur, while participating in a fly-past rehearsal ahead of Naval Day celebrations in May.

One chopper was seen clipping the rear rotor of another, causing both to go into a tailspin and crash.

“The two helicopters collided during flight training,” said Suhaimy Mohamad Suhail, senior operations commander from the fire and rescue department, adding that all 10 crew members on board were confirmed dead by medical officers.

The two aircraft involved were a Eurocopter AS555SN Fennec and an AgustaWestland AW139, the rescue agency said.

Photos showed the Eurocopter model heavily mangled in the wreckage on the naval base stadium track with rescue personnel surrounding it as well as various debris.

The AgustaWestland helicopter crashed at the naval base’s swimming pool area.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim sent his condolences to the families of the victims, saying “the nation mourns the heart-wrenching and soul-wrenching tragedy”.

Malaysia’s King Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar also shared condolences. “Queen Zarith and I feel very sad over the loss of national heroes in this tragedy,” he said in a social media post.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2024

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