Philippine air force Blackhawk helicopter crashes, killing 6

Manila - The helicopter took off from Clark in Pampanga province for the two-hour training exercise but failed to return as scheduled.



By AP

Published: Thu 24 Jun 2021, 10:54 AM

A recently delivered Philippine assault helicopter crashed during a night training exercise north of Manila, killing all six air force personnel on board, officials said Thursday.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said it was still unknown why the S-70i Blackhawk helicopter carrying three pilots and three crewmen crashed Wednesday night near Clark Air Base, a former American military base that is now a bustling industrial and recreation complex.

“No survivors have been found,” air force spokesman Lt. Col. Maynard Mariano said, adding that similar Blackhawks have been grounded amid an investigation into the crash. “We grieve for the loss.”

The helicopter took off from Clark in Pampanga province for the two-hour training exercise but failed to return as scheduled. A search and rescue team later found the wreckage, Mariano said without elaborating.

The Defense Department finalised a deal to acquire 16 of the Blackhawks for $241 million in 2019 under a military program to modernise one of Asia’s most ill-equipped and underfunded militaries.

The helicopter that crashed was among six that were delivered in November. The rest of the Blackhawks will be received by the military within the year, Mariano said.

File photo by Philippine National Department of Defense.
File photo by Philippine National Department of Defense.

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