13 killed in Indonesian military helicopter crash

The Bell 412 helicopter that went down in Poso district, on Sulawesi island, Indonesia, on Sunday evening. The Indonesian military says bad weather is the most likely cause of the accident.
The Bell 412 helicopter that went down in Poso district, on Sulawesi island, Indonesia, on Sunday evening. The Indonesian military says bad weather is the most likely cause of the accident.PHOTO: THE JAKARTA POST

JAKARTA • Thirteen people were killed when a military helicopter crashed in bad weather, in central Indonesia, an official told The Jakarta Post.

The crash, which happened on Sunday evening, local time, is the latest such incident the country's armed forces, which has been hit by aircraft accidents in recent years, has experienced.

The Bell 412 helicopter went down in Kasiguncu village, in Poso district, on Sulawesi island, where a radical Islamist group is waging a guerilla war against the government, reported Agence France- Presse.

The aircraft, carrying seven passengers and six crew, crashed 35 minutes after take-off and just 10 minutes before it was supposed to land, the military said.

There was heavy rain at the time of the accident. Military spokesman Tatang Sulaiman said the bad weather was seen as the most likely cause of the accident.

The military has launched an investigation, he said.

The twin-engine helicopter was purchased in 2012.

The Indonesian military has ruled out the possibility of terrorist strikes as the cause of the crash, reported Xinhua. The news agency quoted another military spokesman, Colonel Berlin G, as saying that the accident occurred in a secure location near an airport and not in an area vulnerable to militant attacks.

The Indonesian military has ruled out the possibility of terrorist strikes as the cause of the crash, reported Xinhua. The news agency quoted another military spokesman, Colonel Berlin G, as saying that the accident occurred in a secure location near an airport and not in an area vulnerable to militant attacks.

Poso is where the Indonesian police and military have been conducting operations to capture the country's most-wanted terrorist, Santoso.

Col Berlin also said the ongoing investigation will explore the possibility of other factors that could have triggered the accident, such as engine failure. Efforts to look for the chopper's black box are under way.

Last month, a small Super Tucano turboprop plane crashed into a densely populated area during a test flight, killing three people.

In December last year, two pilots were killed when a military plane crashed in central Java while performing manoeuvres.

And in June last year, a Hercules C-130 crashed into a residential neighbourhood in Medan, the largest city on Sumatra, killing 142 people and causing widespread destruction.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2016, with the headline '13 killed in Indonesian military helicopter crash'. Print Edition | Subscribe