THREE persons were killed while another was injured when a military helicopter bought by the previous administration in an allegedly questionable deal crashed in Tanay, Rizal Thursday afternoon.
Lt. Xy-zon Meneses, spokesman of the Philippine Army’s 2nd Infantry Division, said in a report that the UH-1D chopper was conducting air-to-ground and disaster rescue operation training when the incident happened at about 3 p.m. at Sitio Hilltop in Sampaloc village.
The practical exercises that involved at least 60 soldiers and 12 personnel of the Philippine National Police from Southern Tagalog had ended when one of the choppers crashed, said Meneses.
He did not disclose the names of the dead and injured soldiers as their families had yet to be informed of the crash.
The injured, reportedly a co-pilot, was brought to the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center in Quezon City.
This was the second UH-1D helicopter that crashed since a whistleblower exposed the allegedly anomalous deal entered into by the administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
In November 2015, a UH-1D chopper went down as it was evacuating wounded soldiers in Malapatan town in Sarangani province.
It was on a mission to airlift a dead soldier and five other wounded personnel of the Philippine Army’s 73rd Infantry Battalion that earlier clashed with New People’s Army rebels.
Military officials immediately said it would be unfair to prejudge the UH-1D helicopters and call them unreliable because of that incident.
The aircraft was among the 21 combat utility helicopters in a controversial P1.2-billion modernization project, which The Manila Times exposed early last year as allegedly anomalous.
The Times source, Rhodora Alvarez, claimed the helicopters were defective.
Of the 21 helicopters, the Defense department accepted eight despite the alleged defects of the units and failure of the supplier to comply with specifications stated in the terms of reference of the project.
Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito, one of the three senators who filed a resolution asking the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee to investigate the “anomalous” procurement, said the Sarangani crash validated his concern against buying old and dilapidated second-hand military equipment that could put lives of soldiers at risk.