Semarang, Central Java. A helicopter belonging to the Indonesian Army crashed and burst into flame in the Central Java town of Kendal on Saturday afternoon, killing four personnel onboard and injuring five others.
The Russian-made MI-17 helicopter was on a flight training mission with nine personnel, including six officer cadets, when the accident occurred near an industrial complex in Kendal at 1.40 p.m., the army said in a statement.
Investigation over the cause of the accident is underway, according Army spokesman Brig. Gen. Nefra Firdaus.
"The helicopter was in a good condition prior to the flight. We didn’t detect any major signs [of mechanical faulty] during the pre-flight check," Nefra said in the statement.
The fatal flight occurred after the first session of the training that went on smoothly, he said.
All the personnel onboard were members of the Army’s Flight Training Center in the Central Java’s capital, Semarang, just east of Kendal.
"At around 12.35 p.m., the helicopter took off for a second time for tactical maneuver training [from Semarang],” he said.
The Army released identities of the victims on their first names without mentioning their ages.
The deceased personnel included Capt. Kadek, Capt. Fredi, Capt. Hendro and First Lieutenant Wisnu. The injured personnel were First Lieutenant Vira Yudha, Chief Private Nanang, Chief Private Rofiq, Chief Private Supriyanto and Chief Private Andi.
An eyewitness said the chopper changed direction before it crashed and exploded on the ground.
“It lost balance and changed direction before crashing. The helicopter exploded instantly and six people rolled out of the flames,” Sarwono, a construction worker at the scene, told reporters.
His fellow workers helped evacuate the injured personnel, who he said suffered serious burns.
All the victims were taken to the Darul Istiqomah Hospital in Kaliwungu subdistrict, Kendal.