AFP probes chopper crashes in Lanao Sur

MARAWI CITY —– The Armed Forces of the Philippines has sent an investigating team to Lanao del Sur to investigate two crashes involving UH-1 Huey helicopters during combat operations in Lanao del Sur against the Dawlah Islamiyah (DI) militants on Thursday and Friday. On Thursday afternoon, a PAF chopper was trying to airlift the wounded soldiers in the hinterlands of Madalum town when the pilot felt he had not enough powers to lift off.

The ambulance that ferried the wounded soldiers from the hinterlands of Madalum, Lanao del Sur to an Army hospital in Zamboanga del Sur. (Divina M. Suson)

On Friday morning, another PAF helicopter, trying to resume the medical evacuation crashed when it was attempting to take off.

The impact caused injuries to the pilot and a crew member who were immediately brought to “the best hospital” in Iligan City according to Ponio.

The three soldiers who were  wounded in a Thursday operation were evacuated from Madalum through Army ambulance.

The Philippine flag at the headquartes of 103rd Infantry Brigade in Marawi City flies half in mourning for a soldier who died in pursuit operations of militants  in Madalum, Lanao del Sur on November 26. (Divina M. Suson)

They were brought to a hospital in the 1st Division in Pulacan, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur and are now in stable condition.

BGen. Jose Maria Cuerpo, commander of the 103rd Brigade said the soldiers were in  pursuit of  a group of 20 dissidents led by its  Faharudin Hadji Satar alias Abu Bakar or Abu Zacaria.
Satar’s parents and three siblings surrendered to the Army few days before the accidents.