IPOH, Sept 9 — The fatal helicopter crash in Bidor, near here on Sunday is the second fatal incident involving the Eurocopter EC120B model.

The helicopter’s 58-year-old pilot, identified as Tsz Kin Richard Chan based on his United States’ issued Federal Aviation Administration pilot license, was found dead at the crash site by the search and rescue team this morning after the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAMM) reported the helicopter missing on Sunday.

The Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control Tower (KLATCC) had lost contact with the helicopter at 12.16 pm, shortly after it had taken off from Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport at 11.37 am. The aircraft had been scheduled to return at 12.37 pm and its last known location was Chikus Forest Reserve near Bidor.

Local aviation expert, Assoc Prof Major Dr Mohd Harridon Mohamed Suffian told Bernama the crash would be of concern, especially to investigators tasked to figure out the exact nature or cause of the crash.

“It’s imperative that the definite cause of the crash is known in order to alleviate safety (concerns) in the aviation industry. Data from the KLATCC radar showed a high rate of altitude depreciation within a short time span of less than one minute, which entailed a particular situation or scenario.

“At this juncture, the best way forward is to collect relevant information and data and scour through the crash site to gain constructive facts to construct holistically the narrative of the fateful flight,” the Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) Head of Aviation Search and Rescue said.

Mohd Harridon pointed out that the authorities would cordon off the crash site to prevent any tampering with the evidence, eyewitness accounts would be taken, and maintenance records of the helicopter would be perused to identify whether there was mechanical failure or an adverse air pocket that affected the flight of the helicopter.

Other avenues, including the temperament of the pilot, psychological factors, and other related human factors, would also be explored, he added.

The wreckage of the helicopter, which is owned by a private company, has been handed over to the CAAM for further action, while the Air Accident Investigation Bureau under the Transport Ministry, will be conducting the investigation in accordance with Part XXVI of the Civil Aviation Regulations 2016.

A helicopter of the same model had previously crashed in Sungai Lingga, Sri Aman, Sarawak, on July 20 2012, killing three people, and yesterday’s crash marks the 97th recorded crash involving the model since the first in Springtown, Texas, US on February 26, 1999.

The Eurocopter EC120B is a five-seat, single-engine, light utility helicopter that was jointly designed and developed by Eurocopter, China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation (CATIC) and Singapore Technologies Aerospace. The helicopter made its first flight in December 1997.


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