SEMENYIH, Malaysia - Rubber estate security guard Roslan Harun, 53, said he saw a red helicopter exploding mid-air during a heavy downpour.
"The moment I looked up, it exploded and I saw pieces of the helicopter fall to the ground. Then, there was a bigger explosion. It was louder," said Roslan, who was the first to call the police.
He said he was about 2km away in Jalan Sungai Lalang when he saw it fall into the plantation.
Roslan said he was seeking shelter from the rain at the guardhouse when he saw the incident.
Kg Sungai Pening villager Yusry Ahmad said he heard a sound from the ill-fated helicopter, much like a "clanging rusted fan" as it fell to the ground.
"We were all out here waiting for the rain to stop because we heard that there was going to be a lunar eclipse tonight. Instead, we witnessed a helicopter crash," he said.
Plantation farmer Abdul Rahim Alin, 42, said news of the crash shocked the quiet village, which was used to having planes and helicopters fly over.
"I never thought one would crash."
Abdul Rahim said villagers here had organised a search party just minutes after they saw the helicopter go down.
He said a group of eight men trekked through the plantation where they work before finding the damaged maroon tail of the wrecked helicopter on a hill in the rubber plantation.
They found the rest of the helicopter and bodies some 200m from the tail.