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Monday July 16, 2007

Villagers help in ground search

SAR operations for missing Nuri helicopter continues 

GENTING HIGHLANDS: Aerial search for the RMAF helicopter which was called off in the afternoon due to bad weather restarted at about 11pm yesterday.  

An RMAF officer said the objective of the night search was to locate any sign of light coming out of the forest below and the night aerial search would continue for as long as the weather permitted. 

Special task: Soldiers looking at the map of the area as they wait for further instructions during the search and rescue operations at the Institut Aminuddin Baki, Genting Highlands yesterday.
Earlier, scores of villagers from Bukit Tinggi and Janda Baik near here joined in the search for the helicopter that went missing on Friday. 

“They are familiar with the densely forested area because they often venture into the jungle to hunt animals and are experts,” said Bentong police chief Supt Yusoff Mahmood. 

A villager in his 40s, who wanted to be known only as Mat, said this was not the first time that he was involved in the search for missing aircraft. 

“From my experience, if a person is not injured, he or she can endure the jungle for three days,” said Mat, who has so far gone into the jungle twice in search of the helicopter, a Sikorsky S61, with six passengers. 

The regular search and rescue teams comprised members of the crack VAT 69 police commando unit, the special air unit Paskau, the army’s special operations force, civil defence personnel and the Senoi Praaq comprising agile Orang Asli who can move swiftly in the jungle.  

The thick mist in the area of search has restricted the aerial operation although the ground search is being carried out day and night. 

The helicopter was piloted by Kapt Nor Azlan Termuzi with Kapt Nor Intan Asykeen Mohd Arof as the copilot. 

The aircraft was also carrying air quartermaster Sjn Khusnizam Ariffin, Sjn Mohd Azmie Md Yassin, senior airman Saifulizam Alias and airman Muhammad Ridzuan Ahmad.  

Bernama reported that a scanning technique is being used to try to locate the helicopter. 

The scanning, done with an Airborne Hyperspectral Imaging Sensor, has been carried out since Saturday in areas of the densely forested hilly terrain where the helicopter is believed to have disappeared. 

Universiti Putra Malaysia professor Dr Kamaruzaman Jusoff, a forest engineering survey expert, is leading the operation.  

Related Story:
Sultan offers his personal copter in operations 

Earlier Stories:
Azmie called home day before flight
Air force chief leads team to seek clues
Search continues even at nightfall
Search still on for missing Nuri, crew and passengers
Nuri reported missing
Missing: Nuri copter en route to Kuantan


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