Three die in Philippine military helicopter crash

A Philippine military helicopter operating in the rebellion-torn southern Philippines crashed into a mountain on Saturday, killing three people, the air force said. The Bell UH-1H aircraft pitched into Mount Sinumaan on Jolo island when its crew attempted to land at a military outpost there, air force spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Miguel Ernesto Okol said. "The UH-1H attempted a precautionary landing... due to mechanical problems," he said in ad statement. He did not say what had caused the mechanical problem. "There were three reported fatalities (but) the co-pilot survived," he said. All the casualties were aboard the helicopter. The area around the crash site is a known stronghold of Islamist militants of the Abu Sayyaf, and Okol said a Philippine marine unit was deployed to secure the crash site while the air force dispatched rescue and investigation teams. The Abu Sayyaf, founded with seed funds from the Al-Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden according to the military, has been blamed for kidnappings and deadly bombings in Manila and the southern Philippines. by Stephen Collinson (c) 2011 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Oct 1, 2011