IPOH, Perak - A helicopter with six people on board crashed in Cameron Highlands on Wednesday. All had injuries, including one with a broken leg.
Perak police chief Mohd Yusri Hassan Basri said rescuers had found all six in the hills of Brinchang at around 4pm. The victims had managed to contact the rescue team while waiting to be rescued.
They were in stable condition and receiving medical assistance, the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) confirmed, a few hours after the Airbus AS355 F2 helicopter carrying medical personnel and equipment crashed at about 1pm in a forest in Brinchang.
Those aboard the aircraft included medical officers, nurses and a public health assistant from the Kinta Health Department in Perak, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said.
He added that the team was on its way back to Tanjung Rambutan in Ipoh after completing a regular visit to an indigenous people’s village in rural Kampung Gawin, Gua Musang.
After first responders arrived at the crash site amid heavy rain, emergency medical units were also mobilised to assess the victims’ injuries at a vegetable farm near the site. The last victim was moved out of the crash site at about 9.10pm and taken to hospital.
Mr Khairy said he was planning to visit the victims in hospital on Thursday.
The pilot, who was unable to walk, was the first to be taken to Hospital Sultanah Hajjah Kalsom in Cameron Highlands for treatment.
One of the medical officers on board the helicopter, Dr Murnirah Abd Rahman, was in stable condition and taken to a hospital in Ipoh, her husband told Malaysian news portal Majoriti.
Mr Abdul Latiff Abdul Razak said: “(I am OK) is all she said. Maybe she is traumatised, thank God she is safe. I was told she injured her hip.”
He said his wife, who has been a medical officer for 12 years, has flown on similar medical missions in helicopters to Gua Musang in Kelantan several times, without an incident like this happening.
The helicopter was operated by private charter airline Layang Layang Aerospace, said CAAM chief executive Chester Voo.
The aircraft lost contact with the company’s flight operations centre shortly after taking off at 12.20pm, said Layang Layang. It crashed while attempting an emergency landing at around 1pm. An investigation into why it had to make an emergency landing is under way.
Mr Yusri said that based on preliminary information, the helicopter experienced problems because of bad weather, the Ipoh Echo reported.
“It is understood that when trying to land, the helicopter got stuck in a tree in the forest,” he said.
A Perak fire department spokesman said the crash occurred near the border of Perak and Pahang.
The Air Accident Investigation Bureau will be probing the incident, said Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong. He said private operators in the local aviation industry had been instructed to be “extra vigilant” as inclement weather is expected during this time.
The rescue effort involved firemen from Tapah and Cameron Highlands.
The cool highlands located in Pahang state are a tourist destination, with many farms producing vegetables, fruits and flowers. THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK