A rescue team prepares to airlift helicopter pilots and their crew to a hospital in Yala province yesterday. The helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing in Yala
AFTER spending a night in dense forest in Yala, seven policemen injured in an emergency helicopter landing received much-needed help yesterday.
A rescue team took a boat ride then trekked through the forest in Than To district before finally reaching the site of the troubled landing.
The Bell 212 helicopter No 2223 went down while flying over Sakai canal late on Thursday afternoon. Earlier, it had departed from Bannang Sata to deliver supplies to a border patrol police (BPP) base in Balahala forest and was on the way back.
“But after the helicopter delivered supplies and police personnel to Border Patrol Police Company 445, the helicopter encountered air turbulence and a visibility issue on its way back. So, the pilots decided to make an emergency landing,” Southern Border Provinces Police Operation Centre’s deputy commissioner Pol Maj-Gen Sakorn Thongmunee said yesterday.
Deputy national police spokesman Pol Maj-Gen Piyapan Pingmuang blamed the emergency landing on poor visibility and the helicopter’s poor condition, noting that the Bell 212 had been in service for many decades.
“Fortunately there was no casualty thanks to experienced and skilful pilots,” he said.
He said after learning of the emergency landing, National Police Commissioner Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda promptly ordered Southern Border Provinces Police Operation Centre to arrange a rescue team to head to the crash site.
The team found the helicopter and the injured officers. They were Pol Capt Arthit Pirun, a pilot, Pol Capt Tanongsak Prabripu, a pilot, Pol Capt Chainarong Harntongchai, Pol Maj Assakorn Rakdee, a pilot, Pol Col Chumpol Kreachan, a pilot, Pol Lt-Col Jirawut Suk-ong, a mechanic, and Pol Lt-Col Charin Chuaymuang.
Two of them sustained serious injuries.
The victims were airlifted to hospitals after being brought out of the forest.