National Tragedy - The RBAF Helicopter Crash

Picture Credit: Pelita Brunei, Information Department
Picture Credit: The Brunei Times
The Bell 212. Picture Credit: Royal Brunei Air Force

Yesterday afternoon, one of Royal Brunei Air Force helicopters, a Bell 212 crashed somewhere near Labi. By this morning, it was reported that 10 of the crew and passengers had died, two are injured and two still unaccounted for. In Facebook, a list of the names had been circulated but at that point in time, about half were still unaccounted for. His Majesty said it was a National Tragedy following close to last year's Bus Crash in Sabah which also killed several of our people. His Majesty had personally visited the hospital as well as the Royal Brunei Air Force base in Rimba.

The Bell helicopters are from the No 1 Squadron which is equipped with both Bell 212 and Bell 214ST. The primary roles of No 1 Squadron are trooplift, casualty evacuation, medical evacuation, fire suppression, VVIP lift, search and rescue. The Bell helicopters had also dealt with bushfires in the past.

Given that the helicopters had been in service for about three decades, it was not the first accident. Sometime in February, another RBAF helicopter Bell 212 was involved in an accident while landing in the vicinity of Bukit Belalong, Temburong District. The aircraft was doing a routine task. At that time there were no passengers and only one crew who sustained minor injuries.

The Bell helicopters are slated to be replaced very soon. Last November, the Royal Brunei Armed Forces had awarded the contract to replace the helicopters to Sikorsky International Operations Incorporated, USA with 12 S-70i Black Hawk helicopters.

Our deepest condolences to the families of the Royal Brunei Armed Forces helicopter crash, prayers for the souls departed, for those still yet to be found, and for those fighting for their lives. Al-Fatihah dan didoakan semoga roh mereka dicucuri rahmat dan ditempatkan bersama-sama para Sallehin.


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