Strong winds blamed for Sokol chopper crash

Posted at 08/08/14 2:16 PM

MANILA - The Philippine Air force is now investigating the crash of a Sokol helicopter in Marawi City on Thursday.

According to Capt. Franco Suelto, spokesperson of the 1st Infantry Division, a team has been formed to investigate what caused the helicopter to crash shortly after take-off from the Army's 103rd Infantry Brigade headquarters at Camp Ranao.

Suelto said initial probe showed that strong winds may have caused the helicopter to crash.

The helicopter was carrying the team of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.

Both Roxas and Gazmin were not on the chopper. On board were 4th Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. Ricardo Visaya and 11 others.

The Cabinet mission aerial convoy came from an electricity project in Marawi City.

Helicopter crew member Staff Sgt. Darius Valdez and a boy identified as Santiago Savedra, who was playing on the ground when the crash occurred, were hurt.

At least six houses in the crash site were reportedly damaged.

The aircraft involved is one of the new Poland-made helicopters recently purchased by the Air Force.

Visaya on Thursday said the helicopter was wrecked and can no longer be used. -- With report from Roxanne Arevalo, ABS-CBN News Iligan