THE JOURNAL consists of selected, most notable and newsworthy POSTINGS OF THE DAY.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

22. Helicopter Crash

Nuri Helicopter Crash: SAR Operations

My deepest condolences to the families of the six officers of the Air Force who were killed in the recent Nuri helicopter crash in Genting Sempah.

How could a helicopter crash have happened and be allowed to happen in the Air-Force? An earlier news report said the helicopter was 39 years old. A helicopter this old should not be used when the maximum life expectancy of one is about 20 years. This is the civil aviation standard and it applies equally to the military.They are human beings as well. Whether they are for civilan use or military use, jets, fighters, bombers and helicopters more than 20 years old should be scrapped and not be allowed to be air-bourne however well maintained. It is not just metal fatigue but the dangers of component failure in any aging aircraft. When we can buy submarines, I fail to see why we cannot buy new helicopters every twenty years knowing very well they are the workhorses of the Air Force. The same applies to fighter jets and bombers. What is their age? No wonder we have so many jet crashes. How could such old and unserviceable aircraft defend a country in times of a war? So it is not surprising that the accident occurred and the owners of the helicopter should take the blame!

All the six airforce crew on board the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Nuri helicopter, which went missing on Friday, were killed.

The search and rescue team found the wreckage of the ill-fated helicopter near Genting Sempah, in Genting Highlands, today.

Royal Malaysian Air Force public relations officer Mejar Zulkiflee Abdul Latiff said the wreckage of the helicopter was found by the ground search team at 5km northwest of Genting Sempah at 1.24pm.

The victims are pilot Kapt Nor Azlan Termuzi, co-pilot Kapt Nor Intan Asykeen Mohd Arof, air quartermaster Sjn Khusnizaim Ariffin, Sjn Mohd Azmie Md Yassin, senior airman Saifulizam Alias and airman Muhammad Ridzuan Ahmad.

The wreckage of the US-made Sikorsky S61 transport helicopter was found on the fifth day of the aerial and ground search after it disappeared from the radar screen at 9.35am on Friday, 10 minutes after taking off for the RMAF base in Gambang, near Kuantan, from the Sungai Besi air base, here.

A search and rescue operation comprising more than 1,400 personnel using about 15 aircraft and was among the biggest operation carried out in recent years, was launched immediately to scour the area for the missing chopper.

However, the operation was hampered by the dense forest and hilly terrain in the mountainous area.

The aerial search, assisted by a US Navy "Sea Hawk" helicopter, also faced problems to locate the helicopter due to thick fog and heavy rain since it was reported missing - BERNAMA.