Army Helicopter Crash Injures Seven, Including Commander

An army helicopter crashed into a tree during an emergency landing, injuring the 4th Army Region’s commander and six other soldiers.
The accident happened in Songkhla’s Thepha district on Friday morning. The helicopter crash landed at Khlong Yor village in Tambon Wang Yai, authorities said.
According to Col Pramote Prom-in, the 4th Army Region’s spokesman, the Black Hawk helicopter experienced engine trouble after it departed Senanarong military camp in Hat Yai district, heading to Sirindhorn camp in Pattani’s Yarang district.
In response, the pilot was forced to make an emergency landing in Thepha, but the helicopter struck a tree. Lt Gen Kriangkrai Srirak, the 4th Army Region’s commander, two pilots, two technicians, a soldier and a photographer were on board, the spokesman added.
They all sustained injures and were rushed to Thepha Hospital, but another helicopter was dispatched to transfer them to Songklanagarind Hospital.
Col Pramote said Lt Gen Kriangkrai suffered minor injuries but an army spokesman later revealed that the southern army chief sustained a pelvic fracture.
Army spokesman Gen Santipong Thampiya explained that the helicopter developed engine problems around 9:00 a.m. while flying over Wang Yai. It was taking Lt Gen Kriangkrai on inspection in the border provinces.
Those on board the helicopter at the time of the crash were Lt Gen Kriangkrai, Maj Gen Prasarn Duangcharn, Capt Wisarn Chusangkit, Lt Nat Sohaka, Sgt Maj First Class Theeraphong Khuhakaew, Sgt Maj First Class Phitsanu Phantae and Cpl Pheerawit Osodcharoen.
On Friday, Army deputy spokeswoman Col Sirichan Ngathong said all the injured people are safe and in stable condition now.
Tambon Wang Yai residents rushed to help and move the injured from the helicopter. Col Sirichan thanked locals, monks, district officials and rescue personnel for their efforts in rescuing the soldiers trapped in the wreckage.
Army commander-in-chief Gen Narongphan Jitkaewthae expressed concern for the wounded and asked the 4th Army Region to provide the best care to ensure their well-being and inform their families.
The 4th Army Region will also assess local property damage from the crash landing and take notes for future response, the spokeswoman said.
Meanwhile, authorities have ordered an investigation into the cause of the engine malfunction, as The Black Hawk has been in service for nearly two decades.