Nation Mourns As Two RMN Helicopters Collide, 10 Perished

Tragedy beyond words as two Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) helicopters collided midair killing all 10 officers on board, and a nation grieves in its place

LUMUT, Perak – Tragedy struck today as two Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) helicopters crashed after the two helicopters collided with each other while undergoing flypast training for the Navy’s 90th anniversary. All ten personnel on board died in the incident. Fortunately, all spectators were unharmed. 

Spectators recorded the tragedy as it was unfolding with six Navy helicopters formed past the parade ground. The two helicopters that were banking to the right then collided.  

Moments of the Rmn Helis Crash Captured on Camera
Moments of the RMN Helis crash captured on camera

The two helicopters — a Eurocopter Fennec with the Naval Air Wing 502nd Squadron crashed into a nearby swimming pool — and a Leonardo Agusta Westland AW139 with the Naval Air Wing 503rd Squadron lost control and crashed at a nearby stadium.

The crash occurred at a naval base in Lumut Perak Fire and rescue department pic<br>

The RMN Victims

The Navy has since released the names of all 10 personnel killed in the crash. They are as follows:

  1. Commander Muhammad Firdaus bin Ramli – Commanding Officer of 503rd Squadron.
  2. Commander Muhamad Amir bin Mohamad – Commanding Officer of 502nd Squadron.
  3. Lt Commander Wan Rezaudeen Kamal bin Wan Zainal Abidin.
  4. Lt Commander Mohammad Amirulfaris bin Mohamad Marzukhi 
  5. Lieutenant Sivasutan a/l Thanjappan.
  6. Warrant Officer II TMK Mohd Shahrizan bin Mohd Termizi
  7. Warrant Officer II TLR (AQM) Muhammad Faisol bin Tamadun.
  8. Warrant Officer II TNL Noorfarahimi binti Mohd Saedy.
  9. Petty Officer TNL Noor Rahiza binti Anuar.
  10. Able Rate JJM Joanna Felicia anak Rohna.

Operational History

RMN Naval Air Wing operates three naval air wing squadrons: Westland Super Lynx 100, Eurocopter Fennec AS555, and Leonardo A139.

Eurocopter Fennec AS555

In 2004, RMN procured six units of Eurocopter Fennec from the Eurocopter Consortium via a leasing programme to equip the Naval Air Wing 502nd Squadron. The helicopters have performed excellently in various operations, supporting the RMN.

The Navy deployed two Fennec helicopters as part of the Ops Fajar (Operation Dawn) task force to the Gulf of Aden in 2009 for several years, and they performed par excellence. The helicopter proved its worth in 2011 when Lt Jason Solomon John flew a Fennec helicopter under darkness and provided a mobile sniper platform to prevent a Somali pirate mothership that was trying to reinforce pirates onboard a hijacked MT Bunga Mas Lima around 300 nautical miles from Oman. 

The Fennec suffered its first operational damage in 2021 when one of its helicopters made an emergency landing at the Lumut Naval Base, damaging its landing skids. 

helicopter fennec 1713873690

Specifications

Eurocopter Fennec AS55SN

Unit: 502nd Squadron
Manufacturer: Eurocopter, France
Length: 10.93m
Width: 2.28m
Top speed: 150 knots
Crew: 3

Leonardo Agusta Westland AW139

In 2022, the government procured three AW139 helicopters to form the Naval Air Wing 503rd Squadron and boost field operations in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone). 

heli 503 HOM 1713873693

Specifications:

AW139 (HOM – Maritime Operation Helicopter)

Unit: 503rd Squadron
Manufacturer:Danny Leonardo Helicopter, Italy.
Top speed: 130 knots
Operational hour: 4 hours
Operational distance: 550 nautical miles.

Cancellation of Celebration

After the tragic crash, Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin announced that his Ministry has cancelled the 90th RMN anniversary celebration. Instead, they will hold a tahlil prayer session.

Board of Inquiry

The Navy will be holding a Board of Inquiry to investigate the tragedy and have requested the public to refrain from speculating. – NMH

Editor’s Note:
New Malaysia Herald extends sincere condolences to the families of the victims on their bereavement.

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