KOTA KINABALU: The police helicopter that crashed at the General Operation Force (GOF) base camp on Thursday (Feb 27) evening had just concluded its routine patrols and an operation when the incident happened.
Sabah police air wing commander Asst Comm Ahmad Lokman Abdul Hadi said the crew on board were done for the day and were preparing to land the Augusta-Westland AW139 helicopter at about 6.15pm.
"The pilot lost control of the helicopter and crashed; they were supposed to prepare for another programme at the GOF base camp on Friday (Feb 28)," he said.
He said all six on board survived and added that they are Sjn Wedrich Sindih, 34, Sjn Mohamad Radzie Radaie, 40, ASP Shaike Faiqzal Johari, 34, DSP Norhashim Ahmad, 44, (engineer) Harry Joinin, 26, and Kpl. Andyrian Shah Mohd Saufi, 33.
ACP Ahmad said investigators from the Civil Aviation Authority Malaysia will investigate the cause of the crash, adding that it would take at least two days.
As for the victims, he said two of them - Sjn Wedrich and Sjn Mohamad - will be taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital here once their doctors at the Tawau Hospital give them the green light.
He said Sjn Wedrich is suspected to have broken a bone in his neck and both hip bones while Sjn Radzie broke three rib bones.
For now, doctors are waiting for their situation to stabilise for the trip by road as it would take at least six hours from them to reach Kota Kinabalu from Tawau.
"The captain escaped with minor injuries while the co-pilot sprained his arm," ACP Ahmad said.
Prior to the incident, the crew had departed from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan on Feb 26, and then to Lahad Datu on Feb 27.
"That evening, they had headed to the Tawau Airport before flying to the GOF base camp," he said.
The crashed helicopter was brought into Sabah in 2019 from Kuala Lumpur to mainly boost security at the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone).
Tawau OCPD Asst Comm Peter Umbuas said they have closed off the accident site and activated a control centre immediately after the crash for investigation purposes.
Residents living near the area also reported hearing an unusually loud sound before the crash.
Some claimed they saw the helicopter sway and spin several times before crashing.