A POLICE helicopter flying from Nakhon Ratchasima to Surin province crashed just a few metres before landing at a temporary helipad with Pol. Maj. Gen. Khirisak Tantinwachai, deputy commander of provincial police region 3, suffering a head injury, Matichon newspaper said today (Mar. 25).
The Bell 429 helicopter, carrying six police officers among them two pilots, was just three to four metres from the ground when a strong gust of wind hit the rear causing it to plunge to the ground and flip over with this leading to the left rotor breaking.
Pol. Maj. Gen. Khirisak was rushed to Surin Hospital for treatment and aside from him three others were slightly injured but the pilot flying the rotorcraft emerged unscathed.
The police team were flying in to attend a press conference on the arrest of a key drug suspect and seizure of 130,000 methamphetamine pills.
Aside from Pol Maj Gen Khirisak the others on board were Pol. Col. Thammanoon Chimwong, deputy commander of Surin provincial police, Pol.Lt. Col. Nattawut Summat, deputy inspector at Provincial Police Region 3, the pilot Pol. Col. Nittinand Namthongdee, from Thai Police Aviation Division, Pol. Maj. Prinya Maneerat, and Pol. Capt. Naruthchid Duangkaew, also a pilot.
Officials will be continuing to investigate the cause of the crash.
The police helicopter after it crash-landed at a Surin helipad. Photos: Matichon