Pilot spoke to parents an hour before crash


Absolute tragedy: Muhammad Firdaus’ family got together recently during Hari Raya when they went to Lumut to celebrate with him. They are seen here at their house in Penang. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: The parents of Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) Commander Muhammad Firdaus Ramli (pic) had just chatted with him over the phone barely an hour before his tragic death.

“This cannot have happened. I can’t believe my brother is gone. Just this morning (yesterday), I heard my parents talking to him over the phone.

“About an hour later, we got the distressing news about his death,” said Alya Ramli, 27.

Alya is the sister of Muhammad Firdaus, 44, who was the pilot of one of the ill-fated helicopters which crashed in Lumut yesterday.

ALSO READ: Thorough probe to be conducted

Alya said her brother would always call their parents before he went off on a flight or mission.

At the site: Two navy helicopters crashed at the RMN stadium during a flypast rehearsal in Lumut, Perak. — Photo taken from social mediaAt the site: Two navy helicopters crashed at the RMN stadium during a flypast rehearsal in Lumut, Perak. — Photo taken from social media

The family got together recently during Hari Raya when they went to Lumut to celebrate the occasion with him.

“That was the last time I saw him,” she said in between tears at their residence in Pantai Jerejak.

ASLO READ: Investigation board to be set up

About a dozen reporters went to the double-storey house, which was quiet with all its doors shut except when a relative emerged to collect food from a deliveryman.

Alya, who came out to speak to reporters briefly, was distraught and declined to have her picture taken. She said that news of her brother’s death was relayed by his wife, who is based in Sabah, at about 10am.

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“My parents have left for the RMN base in Lumut to obtain more information and complete the process of bringing my brother’s remains home,” she said.

One of Muhammad Firdaus’ relatives, who wanted to be known only as Syahirah, said the deceased had been with the navy for over 20 years.

“He was based in Kota Kinabalu since two years ago,” she said.

ALSO READ: Friends share their shock and sorrow

Muhammad Firdaus was among 10 crew members who perished after two naval helicopters collided during training at the navy base stadium in Lumut.

It is understood that he was the pilot of the AgustaWestland M503-3 helicopter with seven crew members on board.

The ill-fated aircraft belonged to Squadron 503 which is based in Kota Kinabalu.

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