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Helicopter Services Won’t Be Grounded In Sarawak Despite Tragedy

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KOTA BHARU – No helicopter services will be grounded in Sarawak despite the tragedy involving a Eurocopter AS350 helicopter in Sebuyau, Sarawak Thursday.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the Air Traffic Control Centre will continue to monitor various aspects involving flights, including the weather.

“No helicopter services will be grounded. I think the air traffic control centre will still regulate all these traffic control in a smooth manner. There is no problem in terms of flight services.

“The weather is also good now,” he said after handing out appointment letters to Village Safety and Development Committee chiefs at Wisma MCA here today.

Also present were Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Chua Tee Yong and Kelantan MCA chairman Tan Ken Ten.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak during a press conference in Kuching, Sarawak had confirmed that a Eurocopter AS350 was reported missing yesterday after taking off from Betong at 4.12pm.

Six people were on board the helicopter, namely Plantation Industries and Commodities Deputy Minister Datuk Noriah Kasnon, her husband Asmuni Abdullah, the ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Dr Sundaran Annamalai, Kuala Kangsar Member of Parliament Datuk Wan Muhammad Khair-il Anuar Wan Ahmad, Noriah’s bodyguard Ahmad Sobri Harun and Filipino pilot Rudolf Rex Ragas.

The helicopter left Betong, about 250km from here, at 4.12pm yesterday and lost contact with the control tower three minutes later.

This morning, parts of the helicopter and a woman’s body was found by the search and rescue team in Sebuyau. – BERNAMA

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