More questions than answers over pilot’s death after CAAM, Wee’s statements

THE Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM)’s account of this morning’s search and rescue (SAR) mission to recover a missing helicopter and its lone pilot appear to contradict that of Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong’s, raising more questions than answers over the pilot’s untimely death.

Earlier today, Wee said he received confirmation from CAAM that the pilot – identified by the police as Hong Kong-born Captain Richard Chan – was found alive at the crash site in Bidor, Perak.

However, shortly afterward, state police announced that he had died, with news reports suggesting Chan even lost consciousness prior to arriving at the hospital.

In CAAM’s latest statement on the matter, the word “victim” was used multiple times to refer to Chan, 58, although there was no mention of where or what time the victim died.

In the statement, CAAM CEO Datuk Captain Chester Voo said the Eurocopter wreckage and victim were found near Kampung Kenangan, Bidor, at 8.18am.

The victim was transported from the wreckage to a Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) helicopter, which landed at the Anderson School Field at 10.30am.

He was then ferried by ambulance to Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital in Ipoh.

“The victim, however, lost consciousness during the rescue mission despite best efforts to revive him,” Chester said, not specifying when exactly Chan passed out either.

Pic credit: Bernama

In a later Facebook update, Wee reiterated that early indications showed the victim was alive at the time the crash site was detected at 8.18am.

“However, we were informed that the victim had reportedly (sic) lost consciousness during the rescue and was attended to by rescuers.”

It is interesting that Wee used the word “reportedly”, which indicates the information came from a news source and cannot be independently verified.

Confusing statement

It is also confusing that Wee said this as in a video statement accompanying the same Facebook post, he said Chan lost consciousness while on the way to the hospital – not during the SAR – and died upon arrival.

Wee further quoted an RMAF report that said Chan was “still safe” when he and the wreckage were found at 8.18am.

Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong (Pic credit: Berita Harian)

“When he was found, he was still alive but seriously injured,” he said.

Even so, Wee said his ministry is still waiting for the hospital to confirm the cause and time of Chan’s death.

The apparent contradictions and confusion have also caught the attention of DAP lawmaker Hannah Yeoh, who posted screenshots of Wee’s earlier Facebook post and the subsequent confirmation of Chan’s death, and said: “Must be traumatising for his loved ones following the news.”

The EC120B helicopter Chan was flying – operated by Heli Outpost Sdn Bhd – was reported missing yesterday after embarking on a private flight from Subang, Selangor, to Ipoh shortly after noon.

It had taken off from Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport at 11.37am and was supposed to have landed at the Sultan Azlan Shah Airport at 12.37pm. At 12.16pm, however, it lost radio contact with the Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control Centre (KLATCC).

The KLATCC’s radar system also recorded a sharp loss of altitude of the helicopter in less than one minute.

According to the CAAM, the on-duty air traffic control officer tried to make contact with the pilot but no distress call was made.

Moving forward, the Transport Ministry’s Air Accident Investigation Bureau will investigate the case in accordance with Part XXVI of the Civil Aviation Regulations 2016. – Sept 12, 2022


Main pic credit: The Star

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