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Joint team to be launched this week for probe of last month's chopper crash

All Headlines 11:42 August 06, 2018

SEOUL, Aug. 6 (Yonhap) -- A joint team consisting of civilians and military and government officials will be launched this week to investigate last month's marine chopper crash that killed five troops, a marine official said Monday.

The team will begin operation on Wednesday with some 40 members, including 10 civilian experts recommended by the bereaved families and others selected by several state agencies such as the police and the land, infrastructure and transport ministry. It will be led by Kwon Jae-sang, emeritus professor at the Air Force Academy.

The MUH-1 Marineon, the Marine variant of the KUH-1 Surion helicopter, crashed at a military airport in the southeastern city of Pohang on July 17, killing five of the six Marines aboard and injuring the other.

Soon after the crash, military authorities launched a joint investigation team involving officials from the Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Defense Agency for Technology and Quality (DATQ) and the Army's aviation operations command. But they later excluded three DATQ officials from the team, citing the possibility of a conflict of interest.

The team will be subsumed into the new team set to be launched this week.

The investigators are said to be putting more weight on technical defects, rather than human error, as the more likely cause of the crash because the chopper's rotor blades were separated from the fuselage just four to five seconds after takeoff.

The Marines received the helicopters in January for transporting its service members and equipment. The Marines had planned to introduce a total of 28 Marineons by 2023. Following the accident, the Marine Corps and Army have grounded all Marineons and Surions.

This photo taken on July 18, 2018, shows Marineon, the Marine variant of the KUH-1 Surion helicopter, at an airport in Pohang, some 370 kilometers southeast of Seoul. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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