'Human error' caused crash of PH military's new chopper
MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Air Force chief Lieutenant General Jeffrey Delgado said "human error" caused the crash of a Sokol chopper in August 2014 shortly after it took off from a military camp in Mindanao.
"We focused on the human and environmental factors that contributed to the incident and from the investigation we have conducted, it was found out that it was human factor," Delgado told lawmakers on Tuesday, September 9, during the 8-hour budget deliberations in the House of Representatives.
"There were some complacencies as far as the operators are concerned," Delgado added.
The initial investigation focused on the engine but the investigators didn't find problems, he said.
The Philippine military acquired 8 brand new Sokol choppers from Poland, delivered in batches between 2012 and 2013, costing the government a total of P2.8 billion ($64.4 million)*.
The other 7 choppers were immediately grounded after the crash last month.
The order has apparently been lifted. Last week, 2 Sokol choppers were spotted in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija to transport Armed Forces chief General Gregorio Catapang Jr and his team.
Among the passengers of the chopper that crashed was Major General Ricardo Visaya, commander at the time of the 4th Infantry Division. He was not hurt. Two other passengers suffered minor injuries.
It crashed at an altitude of 30 meters due to sudden loss of engine power. It had just taken off from Camp Ranao in Marawi, the headquarters of the 103rd infantry brigade.
Visaya was accompanying top Aquino government officials who visited the area. A separate chopper carried Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.
Visaya has since been promoted to become the chief of the Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) responsible for security operations in the Bicol region, previously a communist hotbed. (READ: AFP shake up complete) – Rappler.com