5th body of helicopter crash in Sarawak found

Members of the Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department carrying the body of a victim on May 6.
Members of the Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department carrying the body of a victim on May 6. PHOTO: EPA
Search and rescue personnel at work near Batang Lupar, Sarawak.
Search and rescue personnel at work near Batang Lupar, Sarawak.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUCHING (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The fifth body from a helicopter crash in Sarawak which killed a deputy Cabinet minister has been recovered on Saturday (May 7).

The search and rescue team said the body was found 2km from its Lingga operations centre, with the Fire and Rescue Department saying in a statement that the victim was brought to the jetty and arrived at the Lingga SAR operations centre at 6.50pm.

Four bodies including that of Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Noriah Kasnon had already been recovered.

Two other bodies had been identified as the remains of Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry secretary-general Sundaran Annamalai, and Datuk Noriah's personal bodyguard Ahmad Sobri Harun.

The ill-fated helicopter, a Eurocopter A350 went missing at 4:32pm on Thursday while transporting Ms Noriah, who had been campaigning for the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition in Sarawak's state election, from Betong to Kuching. 

Also on board were Datuk Sundaran, Kuala Kangsar MP and Malaysian Palm Oil Board chairman Datuk Wan Mohammad Khair-il Anuar Wan Ahmad, Mr Ahmad, and the pilot, Captain Rudolf Rex Ragas. 

On Friday, the body of Datuk Noriah was found at the riverbank of Batang Lupar. She was buried at her hometown in Batu 12, Sg Burong, Tanjung Karang at 1.45am on Saturday.

Air traffic controllers lost contact with the helicopter at 4.32pm after it took off from Betong at 4.12pm.