KOTA KINABALU: The 23-year-old co-pilot of the ill-fated MasWings Twin Otter plane that crashed in Kudat airport died at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital here.
Marc Joel Barsih died of multiple head and body injuries shortly after he was airlifted by helicopter to the hospital here at about 8pm Thursday. He was the son of a helicopter pilot with Sabah Air.
Earlier, passenger Tan Ah Chai, a 69-year-old local, died at the Kudat hospital two hours after the plane crashed at about 2.55pm on Thursday.
The 58-year-old captain of the flight sustained head injuries and was taken with three other injured passengers by road to the QEH hospital for treatment. Their condition is said to be serious but not life threatening.
The remaining 10 passengers have been admitted at the Kudat hospital.
The MASwings MH3002 aircraft (DHC6 9M-MDM) left Kota Kinabalu airport at around 2.05pm for the 40-minute flight to the northern Sabah district. It crashed into a house during bad weather while making a landing approach on the 900m airstrip.
Initial suspicion is that the plane was hit by crosswinds that pushed it off the runway.
An investigation by the Department of Civil Aviation is expected to launched Friday.
There were 16 people aboard the plane including the pilot.
Officials from the Department of Civil Aviation accident unit is expected to arrive Friday to begin investigations into the crash.
Some of the passengers on the twin otter had told rescuers that they were approaching to land in bad weather just before the plane plunged into the a house close to the airport.
Some claimed that the plane had hit sea water near the airport before ascending again but had clipped into a tree before it crashed landed.
One of the wings and plane front section including the cockpit was badly damaged in the crash.
In a statement Malaysia Airlines said that the aircraft landed short of the Kudat runway and confirmed that 16 people were on board.
Kudat is about 170kms from Kota Kinabalu and the twin otters serves the area twice weekly as part of MASwings rural air service in Sabah.
The aircraft was travelling on full passenger load and the seaside Kudat town is always hit by strong winds from the South China Sea.