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Pilot’s poor decision-making blamed for Brinchang helicopter crash
Published on: Monday, December 04, 2023
By: FMT, K Parkaran
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Pilot’s poor decision-making blamed for Brinchang helicopter crash
Six people on board a “flying doctor” helicopter miraculously survived a crash in Cameron Highlands in October last year. (AAIB pic)
PETALING JAYA: Poor decision-making in bad weather by a helicopter pilot led to a crash in Cameron Highlands last year in which the six people on board miraculously survived, according to an accident report.

The Air Accidents Investigation Bureau said the aircraft operator had been ordered to provide the pilot with a recurrent training programme on mountain flying and flying in adverse weather conditions, as soon as possible.

“His risk assessment capabilities and judgement need to be improved upon in order not to take unnecessary risks,” the bureau said in its final accident report.

The Airbus AS 355 F2 helicopter, owned by a private company, was on a flying doctor mission from Tanjung Rambutan, Perak, when it crashed near Brinchang, Cameron Highlands.

A doctor, two nurses and two medical assistants were on board.

The bureau said investigations found that the aircraft was in perfect working order on the day and that faulty parts did not contribute to the accident.

It said the helicopter crash landed on a slope, cushioned by the tree canopy, before coming to a rest on its right side against some trees, which prevented it from going further downhill.

Three of the passengers seated in the rear of the cabin were thrown out, the report added.

“Miraculously, all six persons on board survived, albeit four with serious non-life-threatening injuries ranging from cuts and bruises to fractures and dislocations,” the report said.

In its general comments, the bureau said a pilot’s knowledge and experience to read the environment when operating in mountainous areas, especially during bad weather, cannot be overstated.

“Sound decision-making based on proper risk assessment and good judgment will be required in these environments. A key principle is to be situationally aware at all times and if in doubt, land and wait the weather out,” the report said.

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