Australian navy chopper crashes in PH waters; crew safe

Australian navy chopper crashes in PH waters; crew safe

MANILA – An Australian Navy helicopter has crashed in Philippine waters while transiting east of Luzon on Wednesday night, its crew sustaining minor injuries.

In a statement Thursday, the Australian Defence Ministry said the three crew members on board were rescued after ditching the chopper in the Philippine sea.

The Royal Australian Navy MH-60R Seahawk helicopter was operating from HMAS Brisbane as part of a Regional Presence Deployment with HMAS Warramunga when the crew conducted an emergency landing in the water.

HMAS Brisbane deployed sea boats and rescued the crew approximately 20 minutes later. The crew received first aid upon their return to HMAS Brisbane.

The incident was immediately reported to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which is currently coordinating with its Australian counterpart to extend possible assistance if needed.

“Per report from the Royal Australian Navy, the ships were conducting a number of navy-to-navy engagements with partner nations in Southeast and Northeast Asia,” AFP spokesperson, Army Col. Ramon Zagala said Thursday.

Both HMAS Brisbane and Warramunga are searching the area for any debris to find out the cause of the incident.

“With the aircrew safe, investigating the circumstances that led to the helicopter ditching is the priority at the moment. As a precaution, we have temporarily paused flying operations of the MH-60R Seahawk fleet,” said Rear Admiral Mark Hammond, Commander of the Australian Fleet. (PNA)

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