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Air Force pilot, 2 crewmen dead in Tanay chopper crash

Three people were killed while another one was wounded when a military helicopter crashed during a rescue operation training in Tanay, Rizal, on Thursday noon, an Army official said.

Lt. Xy-zon Meneses, spokesperson for the Army's 2nd Infantry Division, said the incident happened around 3 p.m.

Killed in the incident were the pilot and two crew members, while the injured crew member was brought to the AFP Medical Center for treatment.

The victims were on board a UH-1D helicopter, Meneses said.

Meneses said they cannot disclose yet the names of the victims.

"Hindi pa kasi na-inform ang respective families," he said.

Meneses said chopper was being used for an air to ground and disaster rescue operation training (AGOS) for 60 military personnel of 2ID and 12 police personnel from Region 4A.

"Dito sa Camp Capinpin ang training venue. Tapos na yung practical exercise nila for the day kaso nag-trouble ‘yung isang chopper nung pa-landing," he said.

He said the training was aimed at preparing the 2ID, Southern Luzon Command, and Philippine National Police for any eventualities.

Air Force spokesman Col. Antonio Francisco said all UH-1D helicopters have been ordered grounded pending an investigation as to what caused the incident.

"Thats part of the standard operating procedure until we finish the investigation, or we find out the cause," he said. "We are conducting thorough inspection of the aircraft."

The ill-fated aircraft was one of the seven refurbished UH-1Ds acquired from Rice Aircraft Services a few years ago as part of the AFP Modernization Program. 

The bidding for the aircraft was met with controversy after a disgruntled representative of the company said the bidding was rigged by certain Defense officials who received grease money from Rice.

The chopper that crashed on Thursday was the second UH-1D helicopter acquired from Rice to crash. In November 2015, one of the aircraft crashed in Sarangani, injuring two pilots and seven other personnel on board. —KBK/JST, GMA News