Senate of the Philippines

Senate probe sought into Black Hawk chopper crash in Tarlac

Jairo Bolledo
Senate probe sought into Black Hawk chopper crash in Tarlac

NEW AIRCRAFT. Five additional Black Hawk helicopters purchased by the Philippine Air Force arrived on Monday, June 7, 2021.

Philippine Air Force

Senator Richard Gordon says the government should keep an eye on other newly-acquired Black Hawk helicopters

Senator Richard Gordon called for a Senate investigation into the crash of a newly-acquired Black Hawk helicopter that killed 6 individuals in Tarlac on June 23.  

Gordon, chairman of the Senate blue ribbon committee, said there was a need for proper training for all military aircraft personnel to avoid such accidents again. 

“It would be best to give the right support to our men in uniform… To have lost 6 souls during a training exercise is unfortunate.  And to not have retrieved their bodies until more than ten hours after is heartbreaking,” Gordon said in a statement. 

On Wednesday night, June 23, a newly-acquired S-70i Black Hawk Utility Helicopter of the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) crashed a few miles from Colonel Ernest Rabina Air Base in Capas town, Tarlac.

The chopper missed its estimated time of arrival in Clark Air Base, which prompted the air force to conduct search and rescue operations, according to the PAF. No survivors were found, said the air force. 

Meanwhile, Gordon added that the government should keep an eye on other newly-acquired helicopters. 

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“It is possible that these brand-new helicopters that we acquired could be faulty. They could pose a danger to our men in the air as well as to our citizens on the ground,” Gordon added. 

The Philippines purchased a total of 16 Black Hawk helicopters amounting to $241.46 million (P11 billion) from Polish company Polskie Zaklady Lotnicze.  

Recently, the Philippines received the second batch of helicopters on June 7. The first batch of helicopters was delivered in November 2020, while the third batch is expected to be delivered in the last quarter of 2021.

The Black Hawk helicopters are important air assets of the of the Armed Forces of the Philippines because they are multi-mission workhorses which are used for border patrol, search and rescue operations, and cargo lifts.

The PAF said all its Black Hawk helicopters are grounded during the investigation. – Rappler.com

Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering the police, crime, military, and security.