A failure of the control system caused the fatal military helicopter crash
in Ho Chi Minh City, an army general said today.
Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan, Deputy Chief of Staff of the People’s Army, said Air Force investigators have concluded that the four crew members of the UH-1 helicopter had tried to fixed the failure.
They didn’t have enough time, however, due to the plane’s low altitude, at 300 meters, Tuan said.
The US-built UH-1 "Huey" chopper crashed in farmland in Binh Chanh District on Wednesday soon after taking off from Tan Son Nhat Airport on a training flight.
All four crew members died on active duty and their deaths are considered service-connected, he said. Three of them received posthumous promotions and the other a posthumous salary increase.
Tuan said Thursday the Vietnam War era UH-1 helicopter fleet would be grounded
for maintenance checks.
He said the doomed chopper had been overhauled in the US in July 2012.
Soldiers stand by the coffins of four crew members killed in the helicopter crash in Ho Chi Minh City.
Nguyen Van Nen, Minister and Head of Government Office, also ruled out the aircraft’s age as a possible reason behind the crash.
“Its time between overhaul was 2,400 hours for the engine and 4,285 hours [for other components]. This helicopter had flown only 187 hours,” Nen said at a government press conference on Friday.
Some 50 Hueys originally belonging to American forces were seized by the Vietnamese army after the country's reunification in 1975. Many were decommissioned but local media reported between 12 and 14 are still in service.
In 2010, the US funded a program to help Vietnam upgrade its UH-1 helicopter
fleet “to do humanitarian assistance and search and rescue operations,” according to Reuters.
Last July, a Russian-made Mi-171 chopper crashed on the outskirts of Hanoi during a training exercise, killing 20 soldiers aboard. Only one soldier survived with severe injuries.