Defence mourns helicopter crash victims

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WINDHOEK – Four people died on Friday morning after a Namibian Defence Force helicopter crashed at the Grootfontein Air Base. 

According to information from the Ministry of Defence there were two pilots and eight passengers on board the military aircraft when it crashed immediately after taking off. “The Ministry of Defence is announcing with regret that a helicopter of the Namibian Air Force with crew of two pilots and eightbpassengers crashed at Grootfontein Airport,” the ministry’s permanent secretary Petrus Shivute said in a statement released on Friday.

Shivute said the passengers who were seriously injured in the crash were transported to Windhoek to receive medical treatment. The Chinese-manufactured Harbin Z-9 helicopter was en-route to Windhoek on an official mission. The cause of the crash is not known yet, despite speculation that the helicopter’s engine malfunctioned.

An impromptu military parade in honour of the deceased was held at the base on Friday morning, a source at the base told New Era. Minister of Works and Transport Erkki Nghimtina last month announced in the National Assembly that 28 aircraft accidents were recorded in the country during the 2013/14 financial year.


By Mathias Haufiku