A Philippine Air Force rescue helicopter crashed Wednesday on a southern island, killing two pilots and two crew members aboard, the military said.
The Sikorsky S-76A aircraft, used by the military as an air ambulance, was on its way to southern Jolo island from a military base in Zamboanga city when it crashed in the afternoon amid bad weather.
“The aircraft, with its pilots and crew, was en route to Jolo when it crashed in Upper Manggas somewhere in the Basilan province,” said Maj. Al-Nasser Abdurakman, a spokesman for the 3rd Tactical Operations Wing based in Edwin Andrews Air Base.
“All of them [two pilots and two crew members] unfortunately perished,” said Abdurakman, adding that an investigation was underway to determine the cause of the crash.
He didn’t disclose the names of those who were killed.
In a statement, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) said the helicopter belonged to its search and rescue unit and was conducting a “medical evacuation mission.”
“In response to the unfortunate incident, the PAF will be conducting prompt maintenance inspection of all S-76A aircraft as a standard operating procedure in events such as this,” the statement said. “A team will also be sent to the area to conduct further investigation of the said mishap.”
This was the third accident involving government helicopters in six months.
In July, four PAF members were killed when their Huey helicopter crashed shortly after takeoff in the northern province of Isabela. In March, the country’s police chief and three police generals were among eight people injured when their Bell 429 helicopter crashed after in Laguna province south of Manila.
Basilan and Jolo are rugged jungle-clad islands in the southern Philippines. They are home to Islamic State-linked militants from the Abu Sayyaf group that has been blamed for terror attacks in the country.