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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Indonesian Mi-17 Crashes on Approach to Remote Heliport

By Andrew Drwiega, International Bureau Chief

The Indonesian army Mi-17-V5 medium lift helicopter that crashed into jungle in the remote Malinau district of North Kalimantan province in the Indonesian part of Borneo island killing 13 on board was not overloaded and was in the final stages of landing, Indonesian military officials have stated.

The crash on November 9 involved one of the Indonesian Army’s 15 Mi-17-V5 helicopters. According to reports taken from some of the six crash survivors, the helicopter was close to the ground on a routine mission to transport construction workers and building material into the area in connection with the construction of border security posts.

Brig. Gen. Ahmad, an army information officer, announced that the aircraft began its flight at 9:00 a.m. in Tarakan with a military crew of seven plus two civilians. At 10:15 it landed at the village of Apauping to collect 10 civilian workers. Taking off 10 minutes later, it flew to the drop-off point but crashed at 10:45 around 300 meters from the helipad. He said that aircraft was 30 meters (around 100 feet) from the ground when it fell to the ground and caught fire. The crash site was around 800 meters (2,600 feet) above sea level.

According to Indonesian Army Chief of Staff Gen, Budiman, speaking two days after the crash, the Mi-17 was transporting 450 kg (close to 1,000 lbs) of construction materials as well as the 19 people onboard (weighing around 76 kg, or 167 lbs each – 1,444 kg all up, or around 3,180 lbs); together with 300 kg (661 lbs) of fuel. He said the maximum load for the Indonesian Mi-17 was considered to be around 3,000 kg (more than 6,600 lbs). It is not known whether the construction materials were being carried internally or externally. The army has initiated a six-person investigation team to report on the crash.

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