Six Thai airmen killed in helicopter crash: military
August 6, 2008
YALA, Thailand (AFP) – Six members of the Thai air force were killed Wednesday when their military helicopter crashed while on a mission in the insurgency-hit far south, a spokesman said.
The UH-1H chopper was on its return journey from Betong district, Yala province, headed to an air force base in neighbouring Pattani province when it smashed into thick forest in Betong just before midday.
“All six who were on board the helicopter died in the crash,” Group Captain Montol Suchookorn told AFP, adding that the crew consisted of the pilot, co-pilot and four technicians.
“As of this moment we don’t know what caused the crash.”
Montol said the air force will immediately dispatch an investigation team to Yala to establish what happened.
In June, four military officers and six forensic officials were killed when a military helicopter crashed in the same province. The army blamed a technical fault for that incident.
There is a strong military presence in Thailand’s three southernmost Muslim-majority provinces, where more than 3,300 people have been killed since a separatist insurgency broke out in January 2004.
The far south was an autonomous Malay sultanate until Thailand annexed it in 1902, provoking decades of tension.
|By Manager Online||6 August 2008 15:51|
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