The nation mourns, say leaders


Scene of the tragedy: Navy personnel cordoning off the helicopter crash site at the Lumut naval base. — RONNIE CHIN/ The Star

PETALING JAYA: National leaders led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim have conveyed condolences to the families of those killed in the helicopter collision in Lumut.

“The nation mourns the heart-and soul-wrenching tragedy involving the crash of two helicopters at the Lumut naval base today (yesterday),” he said in a statement yesterday.

“Condolences to all the families of the victims and prayers for them to have strength to face this calamity.”

Anwar said the tragedy had a profound effect on the Malaysian Armed Forces and is a great loss for the country.

“May the soul of all those who died be showered with mercy and placed among the believers and the righteous,” he said.

Anwar said the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) and Defence Ministry would immediately carry out a probe into the helicopter crash which killed 10 crew members.

Two naval helicopters collided in mid-air during training at the navy stadium in Lumut, Perak, yesterday morning.

The navy confirmed the deaths of 10 of its personnel, which involved seven crew members of the Maritime Helicopter Unit (HOM) AgustaWestland AW139 and three RMN Fennec crew members.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof has urged the public not to make speculations on the crash.

He urged all parties to show respect to the families of the victims by refraining from sharing sensitive videos or images.

“Regardless of the cause, let’s avoid speculation. That is my sincere hope. I urge both the media and public not to engage in speculation.

“Let the police and military conduct their investigations and we will await their full report.

“They were involved in a training exercise... and when accidents occur, let’s acknowledge them as such and await the findings of the investigations,” he told reporters after visiting the families of the victims and the site of the incident.

Fadillah, who is also the Energy Transition and Water Transformation Minister, said his presence at the naval base followed a directive from Anwar to meet the navy’s top brass to ascertain what exactly happened during the training, Bernama reported.

On behalf of the Prime Minister and the entire government, Fadillah extended condolences to the navy and families of the victims.

“I also had the chance to meet the victims’ families and observed the navy’s arrangements on the transfer of victims to the Ipoh hospital (Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun) for the post-mortem,” he said.

On assistance to be rendered to the families, Fadillah said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin would provide the details soon.

“Furthermore, the Prime Minister mentioned that there will be details for me to report, so let him announce any assistance and support from the government to the families of the victims,” he said.

Mohamed Khaled, who conveyed his condolences, also urged the public not to spread photos or videos of the crash.

“We will give proper aid and assistance to the families,” he told reporters after attending the ministry’s Hari Raya open house held at Dewan Seroja, Kem Kementah, yesterday.

Mohamed Khaled said an interim report on the crash would be released prior to the full report.

“However, it will take time as we want to uncover the cause of the incident,” he said.

Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil advised the public and media practitioners against circulating video clips of the helicopters’ crash.

“Videos depicting the moments of the incident should not be circulated. Let us show respect to the victims’ families and next of kin. Refrain from spreading them.

“I also urge the media not to use those clips or footage,” he said after an event at Wisma Bernama in Kuala Lumpur.

Fahmi also conveyed his deepest condolences to the families of the victims who perished in the incident and deferred to the authorities to conduct a detailed investigation.

MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong also extended his condolences to the families of the victims of the crash.

“My heartfelt condolences to the family members of the victims of the helicopter crash during a training exercise at the navy airbase this morning (yesterday).

“My thoughts and prayers are with them as they go through this very difficult time,” he said in a Facebook post.

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