24-Jul-2011 Source: HeliHub.com
Thailand has today suffered a third fatal helicopter accident in just nine days, claiming a total of 17 lives.Â All three are operationally related – the third involved in the rescue of the second, which was itself on a mission related to the first accident.
On 16th July, a Bell UH-1H crashed in Petchaburi Province, close to the border with Myanmar, killing 5.Â It was en route from Thap Phraya Suea Camp, Suan Phung district, Ratchaburi to airlift stranded soldiers and went down in poor weather.Â It was the weather which then restricted the search options for 2-3 days before a mission could be mounted by air to recover the bodies.
On 19th July, three helicopters were launched.Â One from each of the ministries of Agriculture and of Ministry of Natural Resources & Environment, plus a Black Hawk from the Royal Thai Army.Â Both of the former two helicopter turned back due to the conditions, while the Black Hawk with nine on board continued its mission to recover the five bodies from the UH-1 crash.Â Unfortunately this too succumbed to the weather and went down killing all nine on board.
And then today, a Bell 212 aiming to pick up the bodies from the Black Hawk has also crashed, killing three of the four on board.
All three incidents are, of course, charted in our Safety pages:-
A tragic nine days for the Royal Thai Army.Â We trust that a swift review will be carried out to look at the meteorological limitations they put on both launching missions and when to turn around if the weather deteorates unexpectedly.
Jeremy Parkin, HeliHub.com