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Malaysian Navy: Deviated flight path caused Lumut helicopter collision in April

A Royal Malaysian Navy report concluded that the April helicopter collision in Lumut, Perak was caused by the helicopter Fennec deviating from its designated altitude, intersecting another helicopter’s flight path. Navy Chief Admiral noted the Fennec lacked a black box, so pilot error couldn’t be determined.



MALAYSIA: The final report by an investigation board established by the Royal Malaysian Navy has concluded that a deviation from the designated flight path by the Fennec helicopter was the primary cause of the collision between two helicopters in Lumut in April.

The investigation found that the Eurocopter Fennec was not at the correct altitude and heading, causing it to enter the flight path of the AgustaWestland AW139 Maritime Operations Helicopter (HOM).

This misalignment led to the mid-air collision.

A secondary factor was identified: the AW139 crew’s attention was focused on changing course, which limited their ability to avoid the collision.

Navy Chief Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Ayob, who announced the findings, confirmed that no human error was identified in their investigation.

“There were no elements of human error found. The findings indicate that the aircraft was at an incorrect altitude,” he stated during a press conference on the Final Report of the Lumut Air Crash.

Admiral Abdul Rahman noted the absence of a black box on the Fennec helicopter, which prevented conclusive evidence of pilot error.

“The Fennec aircraft did not have a black box, so no data can conclude human error by the pilot. What we can conclude is that the Fennec was at the incorrect altitude and position,” he explained.

The autopsy reports confirmed that there were no issues of hypoglycemia, fatigue, or prohibited substance use among the crew.

Furthermore, no mental illness was recorded or identified.

“All the crew members involved were medically certified as fit to fly. The deaths of all 10 victims were due to multiple injuries from the aviation crash,” Admiral Abdul Rahman added.

The Black Box Analysis Report confirmed that the AW139 aircraft had no technical problems.

For the Fennec aircraft, which lacked a black box, the absence of technical issues was determined through visual and audio analysis as well as documentation.

“Maintenance work on both aircraft was confirmed to have been carried out according to the procedures and routines set by the OEM,” said Abdul Rahman.

Additionally, samples of oil, lubricant, and fuel from both aircraft were examined and confirmed to be normal by the Institute of Defense Science and Technology Research (STRIDE).

The weather conditions on the day of the incident were reported to be suitable for flying.

Both the AW139 and Fennec helicopters were declared airworthy on the day of the incident.

The incident occurred on 23 April, when the AugustaWestland AW139 HOM and the Eurocopter Fennec collided during a mid-air manoeuvre while training for the Navy’s 90th-anniversary celebrations.

The Fennec helicopter was operated by a three-member crew, while the AW139 helicopter carried a team of seven.

Tragically, all ten crew members lost their lives in the accident.

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