Lieutenant-General Vo Van Tuan, Deputy Chief of the Army General Staff, talks to the press on July 8. Photo: Hoang Phan
A top military official said the official investigation into the cause of a crash that left 18 people dead and three injured in Hanoi has stalled due to a problem with the helicopter's flight recorder.
Lieutenant-General Vo Van Tuan, Deputy Chief of the Army General Staff, told Thanh Nien that authorities are still working hard to discover the cause of the accident after they recovered the flight recorder from the crash site.
“But the recorder seemed to have been broken by the impact of the crash,” he said.
Authorities are also working to identify the bodies.
It normally takes 24-36 hours to get posthumous DNA results, but in cases where the deceased are badly burned, it takes longer, Tuan said.
At around 7:50am on Monday (July 7), a Russian-made MI-171 helicopter from Regiment 916 of 371st Air Force Division fell out of the sky with 21 people on board, including three crew members, two trainers, and 16 soldiers, during a parachuting exercise.
Sixteen soldiers were killed instantly and five others were rushed to a nearby hospital suffering from serious burns.
Two more soldiers succumbed to their injuries later that evening, bringing the total fatalities to 18. The three survivors of the crash are still being treated at the National Institute for Burn Victims in Hanoi's Ha Dong District.
The MI-171 helicopter was purchased from Russia in 2005 and has since engaged in a number of search and rescue missions.
Major General Pham Hoai Giang (L), chief of the Ministry of Defense’s Rescue Department, delivers over VND10 million to the family of Captain Nguyen Dao Hong Tam, who died in the helicopter crash on July 7. Photo: Ngoc Thang
On Tuesday, representatives from Thanh Nien
newspaper and the Rescue Department under the
Ministry of Defense presented VND5 million (US$235) and VND10 million, respectively, to the family of Captain Nguyen Dao Hong Tam, one of the 18 soldiers killed in the crash.
Tam, his parents' only son, left behind a wife and two children who live in a 20-square-meter hired apartment and struggle with financial difficulties.
Thanh Nien representatives also presented VND5 million each to families of the three injured soldiers who are being treated at the National Institute for Burn Victims.
All the three were badly burned; one survivor is suffering from burns to 70-80 percent of his body, according to an official at the Institute.