EC120B pilot found dead at crash site, contrary to earlier reports

The pilot of the Eurocopter EC120B that crashed near Bidor in the northern Malaysian state of Perak, was found dead at the crash site.

This was confirmed by sources in the thick of the search and rescue (SAR) mission.

This revelation contradicts Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong’s statement earlier today that the pilot had been found alive.

Sources added that the pilot was from Hong Kong. He was later identified as Richard Chan, 58.

Two Airbus Helicopters H225M Caracals were dispatched from the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base in Kuantan, Pahang, to Ipoh, Perak, where the SAR operations were being coordinated.

This morning, the lead SAR bird picked up on the emergency locator beacon activated by the EC120B and pinpointed its location around 9am.

RMAF para rescuers proceeded to secure the crash site and recover the remains of the dead pilot who was pinned inside the cockpit. The body was hoisted into the lead SAR helicopter at 10.15am.

Wee, had on his Facebook account at 9.18am, wrote: “Thank God. I just received confirmation from CAAM (Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia) that the pilot from yesterday’s helicopter incident has been found alive at the crash site.”

He later clarified through a video posted on his Facebook account at 12.28pm, that his earlier statement was based on a RMAF report.

“The victim was still alive at that time (8.18am). A police ground search team arrived at the scene at 10.30am,” Wee said in the video.

“The victim was alive when he was found, but was badly injured. The rescue team then sent the victim to the hospital, but the victim lost consciousness on the way to the hospital (Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun, in Ipoh).

“The victim was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital. We are still waiting for the hospital to confirm the cause, and time of death,” Wee added.

Wee said he had also contacted Perak police chief Datuk Mohd Yusri Hassan Basri, who had informed him the same.

“He told me the same thing. He said information from CAAM’s search and rescue operation centre confirmed that the victim was still alive at 8.18am but was badly injured. The victim lost consciousness during the rescue process,” Wee said.

Efforts to reach the crash site the night before were hampered by bad weather.

Yesterday, the EC120B, with the United States registration number N409HH, was reported missing after the Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control Centre (KLATCC) lost contact at 12.16pm.

The helicopter was operated by Heli Outpost Sdn Bhd.

The EC120B, with one pilot in command, took off from the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang, Selangor, at 11.37am yesterday for a private flight and was scheduled to land at 12.37pm at the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport in Ipoh.