A PHILIPPINE Air Force (PAF) brand new Black Hawk helicopter on Wednesday nightcrashed in Capas Tarlac, killing three pilots and three airmen.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana confirmed the death of the six, who were aboard the new S-70i Black Hawk Utility Helicopter recently procured from Poland.
The PAF Information Office said the S-70i Black Hawk utility helicopter, one of the six new choppers of the Air Force’s 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing, crashed while conducting a night flight proficiency training.
The helicopter crashed in the vicinity of Crow Valley a few miles from Colonel Ernesto Rabina Air Base in Capas.
Night flight proficiency trainings are meant to boost the capabilities of pilots and crew prior to their full deployment to assist frontline units in their missions.
“So far, no survivors have been found. The identities of the aircrew members will be provided as soon as the members of their families are properly notified,” the PAF, in a statement, said.
It was reported that the chopper is late from the estimated time of return to its station based at Clark Air Base in Pampanga.
Search, retrieval, and recovery operations are ongoing.
“We grieve for the loss. The PAF will conduct a thorough inquiry to determine the circumstances of this unfortunate incident,” the PAF said.
All Black Hawk utility helicopters have been grounded until the conclusion of the investigation
The Philippine government has procured a total of 16 Sikorsky S70-i Black Hawk helicopters from Polish company Polskie Zaklady Lotnicze Sp.z.o.o.
Six arrived last year while five arrived last June 7. With JANE ELEDA