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Tuesday April 12, 2011

Pilot killed in helicopter crash

SIBU: A Sabah Air helicopter crashed in the town square, killing its pilot, after flying Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his entourage here.

Sahimi Ghazali, 38, took off at 1.45pm to return to Sibu airport but the helicopter rose about 3m before it crashed.

Sahimi was critically injured and died at 8.30pm at Sibu Hospital.

The Bell 206 helicopter had arrived from Bintangor and was among three machines used to fly the entourage.

Fatal flight: Fire and Rescue Services Department officers spraying foam on the wreckage in Sibu Monday. (Inset) Sahimi succumbed to his injuries in Sibu Hospital. — RICKY LAI / The Star

It was the second helicopter to take off from the town square located in front of the 28-storey Wisma Sanyan, which houses the Sibu Municipal Council administration and other government offices.

Kapt Yusof Ali, who took off on the first helicopter, said the incident could not have been caused by the weather. “The weather was all right to fly in,” he said.

Fire and Rescue Services Department officers rushed to the site within minutes of the crash.

Muhyiddin, who earlier visited Sahimi at the operation theatre, expressed grief over the incident.

At 11.15pm last night, special officer to Muhyiddin, Mohd Nordin Awang, arrived at the hospital to convey his condolences to Sahimi's brother, who said the pilot's remains would be flown to their hometown in Kota Baru for burial.

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