10 killed in mid-air helicopter crash in Malaysia

Efforts underway to verify identities of victims all of whom were below the age of 40, says Malaysia's defence minister

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Emergency personnel work at the site of a helicopter crash in Lumut, Perak, Malaysia, April 23, 2024. — Reuters
Emergency personnel work at the site of a helicopter crash in Lumut, Perak, Malaysia, April 23, 2024. — Reuters
  • Incident occurred during rehearsal for navy's anniversary festivities.
  • Malaysian PM conveys condolences over "heart-wrenching" tragedy.
  • Navy announces probe to find out cause of the fatal accident.

As many as 10 people have died in a mid-air crash between two Malaysian Navy helicopters at the Lumut naval base, Perak on Tuesday.

The incident occurred at around 9:30am while navy helicopters were rehearsing for the Navy Day parade, Al Jazeera reported.

Malaysian Navy has confirmed the death of all the 10 crew members saying that the bodies have been shifted to the Lumut naval base military hospital for identification.

A video circulating on local media showed several helicopters flying in formation, when one of the choppers' rotor clipped another before both aircraft crashed into the ground. 

Meanwhile, local police has also confirmed the authenticity of the footage.

The navy said it would carry out an investigation into the cause of the accident.

Defence Minister Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the aircraft — a maritime operations helicopter and a Fennec military chopper — were rehearsing for a parade celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Royal Malaysian Navy, due to be held on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters, the minister said that efforts were underway to verify the identities of the crew members killed, all of whom were below the age of 40.

According to the BBC, one of the helicopters carrying seven people crashed onto a running track, whereas the other with three people on board crashed into a swimming pool.

Reacting to the incident, Malaysia's Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, in a post on X, conveyed condolences to the bereaved families saying that the country "mourns the heart-wrenching tragedy".

The incident comes as two crew members were rescued last month after a Malaysian coast guard helicopter crashed into the sea off Malaysia's Angsa Island last month.

The country has a history of helicopter crashes as two people were killed when two helicopters, in a similar incident, crashed into each other in 2020.

Before that, six people died, including the-then Deputy Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities Noriah Kasnon in a helicopter crash in 2016.

The incident occurred a year after the then Malaysia’s ambassador to the United States Jamaluddin Jarjis was killed along with four others after their helicopter crashed into a forest.