KUCHING, May 8 – The Search and Rescue (SAR) team mobilised in the air crash tragedy in Sarawak will be using metal detectors to locate the main wreckage of the ill-fated helicopter, said Department of Civil Aviation director-general Datuk Seri Azharuddin Abdul Rahman.
“If we detect metal in the Batang Lupar River at the crash site, we will get the scuba team to go in. The SAR operation which entered its fourth day today would focus on a 870-square kilometre area on either side of the river in Sebuyau and Lingga, about 220km from here,” he told a press conference at the DCA control tower here today.
“The SAR team had also found a tail section called ‘tail boom’ and a cushion which were believed to be from the helicopter. As of 9.45am today, we have found a cushion in the Pulau Triso area near the river mouth and the tail boom in the Sungai Merah River, about 4km northeast of Lingga. “Among the challenges faced by the SAR is very low visibility in the river apart from swift currents,” he said.
Asked if the helicopter was carrying more passengers that permitted which made controlling it difficult, Azharuddin said this was pure speculation. In the meanwhile, he said this is speculation in social media, let the Air Accidents Investigation Bureau do its work.
Of the six people on board, so far, the search team has found the bodies of Plantation Industries and Commodities deputy minister Datuk Noriah Kasnon, her husband Asmuni Abdullah, Kuala Kangsar MP Datuk Wan Mohammad Khair-il Anuar Wan Ahmad, who is also Malaysian Palm Oil Board chairman, the ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Dr Sundaran Annamalai and Noriah’s bodyguard Ahmad Sobri Harun. Still unaccounted for is the Filipino pilot, Capt Rudolf Rex Ragas.