A helicopter, believed to be ferrying VIPs, including a deputy minister, from Betong to Kuching, has gone missing.
Department of Civil Aviation chief Datuk Azharudin Abdul Rahman says the helicopter disappeared off the radar around 5pm near the Sebuyau district.
“A search and rescue operation has been mounted,” he said, declining to divulge details. It is learnt that the helicopter had radioed an air tower on its estimated time of arrival but later lost radio contact. Among those believed to be onboard are: •
Datuk Noriah Kasnon (Plantation Industries and Commodities Deputy Minister) • Asmuni Abdullah (Noriah’s husband) • Datuk Wan Mohammad Khairil Anuar Wan Ahmad (Kuala Kangsar Member of Parliament) • Datuk Dr Sundaran Annamalai (Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry secretary-general) • Ahmad Sobri Harun (Noriah’s bodyguard)
The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) and the Army has deployed to conduct a search and rescue operation to locate the missing helicopter, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, via his Twitter account, expressed his concern over the news.
“Deeply concerned about reports of helicopter missing between Betong & Kuching. Search and rescue activated.
Let us pray for their safety,” he wrote. The Sarawak Fire & Rescue Department has been placed on full alert and said it is ready to deploy its STORM unit to Sebuyau.