Lucky escape in chopper crash

Lucky escape in chopper crash
Close call: Firemen attending to the site where the helicopter crashed at Terminal 1 in Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

A female trainee pilot who was about to take off on a solo 30-minute flight had to clamber out from the helicopter when it flipped on its side in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, yesterday.

Fatin Nadeera Mohamad Jef­frey (inset), 21, was bruised and shaken as she walked towards firemen at the Kota Kinabalu Inter­na­tional Airport (KKIA).

This was not her first lone flight as she had been cleared to fly solo on the Bell 206B3 single-engine helicopter on Feb 12, reported Malaysia's The Star.

Chief instructor Captain Sudhir Kumaren said Ms Fatin Nadeera was shaken by the experience.

She was in better spirits by the time she arrived at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and she seemed to have recovered from the shock, Mr Kumaren said.

Kota Kinabalu police chief Assistant Commissioner M. Chandra told The Borneo Post: "She is in good health, but still under doctors' observation. She should be released from hospital soon."

After the accident, the KKIA was closed for about 15 minutes from 11.45am.

Mr Chandra said that no foul play was suspected.

The helicopter was still within the airfield when the incident happened.

The Fire and Rescue Services Department public relations officer Mohd Affendy K. Ramin said sparks were seen at the engine after the forced landing.

The helicopter then caught fire.


"The victim managed to crawl out before the helicopter caught fire," said Mr Affendy in The Borneo Post.

The authorities believe that the trainee was waiting for clearance from air traffic control before she could take off.

Ms Fatin Nadeera is the only woman among the first batch of eight trainees from Layang Layang Helicopter Academy. The flying academy in Kota Kinabalu opened in October.

For the current phase of her flight training, she was allowed to fly the helicopter for a maximum of half an hour.

Mr Kumaren said training at the academy would continue as usual.

This article was first published on May 30, 2015.
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