Thursday, December 28, 2006

Philippine Combat Copter Crashes In Zambo

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Mindanao Examiner / 28 Dec) - A Philippine Air Force helicopter crashed Thursday while landing at the Zamboanga International Airport in the southern Philippines, officials said.

Officials said the two unnamed pilots survived the crash, but the accident briefly stalled airport operations. "The pilots are okay and the chopper was removed from the runway and the airport operation is now back to normal," said Supt. Ybar Padao, chief of the airport security.

The helicopter, an MG-520, crashed at around 8.45 a.m., he said.

Padao did not say the cause of the crash, whether it was pilot or error or mechanical failure, but the chopper was on a routine flight when it plunged. Radio reports quoted unnamed airport sources said that one of the pilot was a woman, assigned with the Philippine Air Force's Edwin Andrews Air Base here.

Local pilots usually fly their air crafts in the morning as part of a routine maintenance. The small MG-520, equipped with rocket launchers on both side and machine gun on its nose, is often used in anti-insurgency operation in the southern Philippines. It was part of a security package that came from the United States. (Mindanao Examiner)

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