PETALING JAYA: Search and rescue (SAR) efforts will continue in the area between Simunjan and Betong in Sarawak, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
"The SAR mission is currently being led by the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) with the assistance of the Royal Malaysia Air Force (TUDM), Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM), Marine Police, Fire and Rescue Department, Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (APMM) and Civil Defence Department," added Liow in a statement on Friday night.
Liow said that investigations into the accident will be conducted by the Air Accident and Investigation Bureau (BSKU) led by Captain Datuk Yahaya bin Abd Rahman, adding that two operation centres to manage and disseminate information have been set up at the Ministry of Transport, Putrajaya and at Kuching Airport, Sarawak.
"They can be reached at 03 8892 1488 / 03 8892 1489 or 082 451 702," said Liow.
He also confirmed that the first body found has been officially identified as that of Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Noriah Kasnon.
"The Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities have been in touch with the next-of-kin (NOK) of the passengers. All NOKs have been flown to Kuching as of Friday afternoon," said Liow.
Noriah and her husband Asmuni Abdullah were on the helicopter which went missing en route from Betong to Kuching.
The four other individuals on board were the ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Dr Sundaran Annamalai, Kuala Kangsar MP and Malaysian Palm Oil Board chairman Datuk Wan Mohammad Khair-il Anuar Wan Ahmad and personal bodyguard Ahmad Sobri Harun, as well as the pilot, Captain Rudolf Rex Ragas.
Noriah is also Sungai Besar MP.
Air traffic controllers lost contact with the helicopter at 4.32pm on Thursday after taking off from Betong at 4.12pm.
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