Military helicopter crashes in NW Philippines

6 crew, including 3 pilots aboard still missing.

Military helicopter crashes in NW Philippines

A Philippines army helicopter crashed during a night-flying exercise over the Pampanga province in the northwest of capital Manila, state-run media said on Thursday.

Three pilots and three airmen were aboard, and so far, no survivors have been found, Philippine News Agency, citing the country Air Force, said in a statement.

"Last night, June 23, 2021 an S-70i Black Hawk Utility helicopter of the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing on a night flight training figured in a mishap a few miles from Colonel Ernesto Rabina Air Base in Capas, Tarlac," Philippine Air Force spokesperson Lt. Col. Maynard Mariano said.

The country's Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana expressed his condolences and sympathies to the families of the pilots and airmen.

"We at the Department of National Defense extend our deepest sympathies to the families of the three pilots and three airmen of an S-70i Black Hawk helicopter of the PAF who perished when their plane crashed in the vicinity of Crow Valley near Clark Air Base, Pampanga, after undertaking a night proficiency flight on Wednesday evening, June 23," Lorenzana said.

Meanwhile, the Philippines Air Force has grounded all its newly acquired S-70i "Black Hawk" combat utility helicopters following the mishap.

"For the meantime, all the other Black Hawks will not be flown until the conclusion of the investigation," said Mariano.

In January, at least seven soldiers, including a colonel of the air force, were killed when a military helicopter crashed in the southern Philippines during an operation against the communist rebels.

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