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Military helicopter crash kills four crew members

Update: January, 29/2015 - 09:49
Rescuers carry debris from the crash site yesterday near HCM City. Four people died in the crash. — Photo VTC News

HCM CITY (VNS) — Four crew members were killed when a Viet Nam Air Force UH-1 helicopter crashed during a training exercise yesterday morning.

Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of general staff of the Viet Nam People's Army, told the Viet Nam News Agency the helicopter took off from Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCM City at 7:15am yesterday and lost contact eight minutes later.

The aircraft crashed in Village 4, Pham Van Hai Commune in HCM City's Binh Chanh District.

The crash site has been sealed off by local authorities since 1pm yesterday. The army, firefighters and HCM City police cleared the debris under the guidance of Vo Van Thuong, the municipal Party Committee's standing deputy secretary.

Doctor Nguyen Dinh Tong from the national defence ministry's Hospital 175 said the hospital had received the victims' bodies, and after formal identification, funerals would be organised by the Ministry of Defence.

The crew members were named as Lieutenant Colonel Tran Van Duc, main pilot, Chief Flying Instructor of Air Force Regiment 917: Senior Lieutenant Colonel Do Van Chinh, air force mechanic; Major Le Hong Quan, pilot; and Lieutenant Nguyen Viet Cuong, pilot.

Colonel Le Van Hanh, Political Commissar of Air Force Division 370, said that the helicopter suffered a series of faults during the training flight.

The crash site has been sealed off by local authorities since 1pm yesterday. — Photo baotrithuc

Hanh said the aircraft was supposed to be heading towards Tay Ninh Province but the site of the crash was not on the planned route. It is possible that after experiencing mechanical failures, the crew decided to avoid residential areas and look for a clear landing zone.

The helicopter went down in rough terrain, making it difficult to search for the victims, said Hanh.

The four bodies of the flight crew were transported to Military Hospital 175.

All four members of the flight crew have been identified, but DNA testing will be required to verify their identifications.

Residential areas near the crash site was temporarily evacuated and closed off as the military conducted an investigation into the crash.

Lieutenant General Truong Van Hai, Command Centre Chief of HCM City Military, was at the site to oversee the search and rescue effort.

The UH-1 belonged to Air Force Regiment 917 under the Air Force Division 370 of the Viet Nam Air Force and Air Defence Force. — VNS

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