10 Killed in Mid-Air Collision of Malaysian Navy Helicopters During Rehearsal

Two Malaysian Navy helicopters collided mid-air during a rehearsal, killing all 10 crew members. The tragic incident raises concerns about safety protocols and the need for a thorough investigation to prevent similar accidents.

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Ayesha Mumtaz
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10 Killed in Mid-Air Collision of Malaysian Navy Helicopters During Rehearsal

10 Killed in Mid-Air Collision of Malaysian Navy Helicopters During Rehearsal

On April 23, 2024, two Royal Malaysian Navy helicopters collided mid-air during a rehearsal for the Navy's 90th anniversary event near Lumut, Malaysia, resulting in the death of all 10 crew members on board. The accident occurred at 9:32 a.m. local time at the Lumut naval base in the western state of Perak.

The helicopters involved in the collision were an AgustaWestland AW139 maritime operation helicopter and a Eurocopter Fennec lightweight helicopter. The AW139 crashed at a sports complex at the naval base, while the Fennec hit a nearby swimming pool. All victims were confirmed dead at the scene and sent to the Lumut army base hospital for identification, according to a statement from the Malaysian Navy.

Footage of the incident, which the police confirmed as genuine, showed one of the helicopters clipping the rear rotor of the other, leading to the crash. The victims, all below the age of 40, were of various ranks and were based in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and Lumut, Perak.

Why this matters: The tragic incident marks a significant loss for the Royal Malaysian Navy and the country as a whole. The collision raises concerns about safety protocols during military rehearsals and the need for a thorough investigation to prevent similar accidents in the future.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim expressed condolences and said an immediate investigation would be carried out by the Ministry of Defense and the Royal Malaysian Navy to determine the cause of the accident. "The incident has deeply affected the Armed Forces family and is a massive loss for Malaysia," Anwar stated, describing the tragedy as a loss for the armed forces and the country.

The Royal Malaysian Navy has established an Investigation Board to identify the cause of the incident and has requested the public not to transmit the video of the incident to protect the sensitivity of the families and the investigation process. Incidents involving helicopters are not uncommon in Malaysia, with a similar crash occurring the previous month involving a Malaysian coast guard helicopter.

Key Takeaways

  • Two Royal Malaysian Navy helicopters collided mid-air, killing all 10 crew members.
  • The accident occurred during a rehearsal for the Navy's 90th anniversary event near Lumut.
  • One helicopter crashed at a sports complex, while the other hit a nearby swimming pool.
  • Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim ordered an immediate investigation into the cause of the accident.
  • The Royal Malaysian Navy has established an Investigation Board to identify the cause of the incident.