A military helicopter has crashed near the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, killing five individuals, including a Cambodian Air Force Commander.
According to The Cambodia Daily, the helicopter was carrying a total of six people. Most of the people inside the helicopter were pilot trainees and Brigadier General Ieng Vanarith was on the flight to observe the their progress.
“He went on a flight with the trainers to see how his own men were training,”
The helicopter crashed in Phnom Penh’s Dangkao district this morning, killing five of the victims on impact. One individual was rescued with serious injuries, according to local police officials. Reports add that the helicopter crash occurred at about 9 a.m. local time in a quarry in the village of Prey Tituy village.
According to a local from the village, the lone survivor from the crash, 27-year-old Cheng Soksambor, was rushed to the local Calmette hospital for treatment. The bodies of other victims of the helicopter crash were also taken to the hospital.
“From preliminary information that I received, I just know that five people died and one survived, but was seriously injured,” the villager added.
From what is now known, the military helicopter took off from the Phnom Penh International Airport earlier in the morning. Military police officials were dispatched to the location of the crash to secure the wreckage and begin investigations as to what caused the helicopter to go down.
According to Khuon Yano, Choeung Ek commune police chief, the helicopter was owned by the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) and had been originally donated to Cambodia by China. Preliminary reports add that the helicopter involved in the crash was a Chinese-made Zhi-9 (Z-9) utility helicopter. This model is widely known to be a licensed clone of the Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin and is made by Harbin Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation of China.
“This helicopter was donated by China and belonged to the RCAF and those victims were training pilots,” according to Khuon Yano, Choeung Ek
Meanwhile, Malaysian news website Bernama has said that the helicopter crashed into a pond and not a quarry as stated in other reports.
[Image Via Wikimedia Commons]