10 Killed as Malaysian Navy Helicopters Collide During Training Exercise

Tragic collision of two Malaysian Navy helicopters during training exercise kills all 10 crew, raising questions about military readiness and safety protocols.

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10 Killed as Malaysian Navy Helicopters Collide During Training Exercise

10 Killed as Malaysian Navy Helicopters Collide During Training Exercise

On April 23, 2024, two Royal Malaysian Navy helicopters collided during a training exercise at the Lumut naval base in Perak, resulting in the tragic deaths of all 10 crew members on board. The incident occurred around 9:32 am local time as the helicopters, a Fennec (M502-6) and a HOM (M503-3), were participating in a practice run for a cross-formation flypast to celebrate the navy's 90th anniversary.

According to the Perak Fire and Rescue Department, the victims included seven men and three women, ranging in age from 26 to 41 years old. Among the deceased were the commanding officers of the 503 and 502 squadrons, Commander Muhammad Firdaus Ramli and Warrant Officer II Muhammad Faisol Tamadun. The youngest victim was 26 years old.

Investigators believe the collision occurred as the helicopters attempted to maneuver into the planned cross-formation within Lumut's airspace, leading to a secondary collision that caused both aircraft to lose control and crash. The AW139 crashed at a sports complex at the naval base, while the Fennec hit a nearby swimming pool. A navy service member who was swimming in the pool suffered a minor injury from the debris.

Why this matters: The incident marks the worst military accident in Malaysia in terms of fatalities and has profound implications for the Royal Malaysian Navy. It raises questions about training protocols, safety measures, and the readiness of the nation's military forces.

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and King Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar expressed condolences to the families of the victims, and an immediate investigation, set up by the Ministry of Defense to determine the cause of the crash. The Malaysian Defense Ministry has launched an investigation to determine the cause of the collision, with an interim report, expected, weeks and a full report to be completed within a month.

The victims, who were accorded military honors, will be buried in their respective hometowns. The navy has appointed high-ranking officials to assist the next-of-kin of the victims, providing support for the burial and other needs of the families. "The last respects for the fallen Navy personnel will be carried out according to naval force tradition at locations agreed upon by the next-of-kin," a navy spokesperson stated.

The 90th Navy Day parade, which the helicopters were rehearsing for, has been cancelled in light of the tragedy. Instead, the navy will hold a ceremony to pray for the deceased. The incident has been described as a profound loss for the nation and the Royal Malaysian Navy, as it mourns the untimely deaths of its dedicated service members.

Key Takeaways

  • 2 Royal Malaysian Navy helicopters collided during training, killing all 10 crew
  • Incident occurred at Lumut naval base as helicopters rehearsed for 90th anniversary
  • Victims included 2 commanding officers, with youngest aged 26
  • Investigation launched to determine cause, with interim report expected in 2 weeks
  • 90th Navy Day parade cancelled, replaced by ceremony to honor the deceased