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Joint team launched for probe of last month's chopper crash

All News 11:08 August 08, 2018

SEOUL, Aug. 8 (Yonhap) -- A joint team consisting of civilian, military and government experts was launched Wednesday to investigate last month's Marine chopper crash that killed five troops, the Marine Corps said.

Retired Air Force Col. Kwon Jae-sang, emeritus professor at the Air Force Academy, leads the 37-member team, which includes nine civilian experts and five others selected by several state agencies, such as the police and the land, infrastructure and transport ministry.

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.

"The investigation team was formed with an agreement from the bereaved families, with an aim to transparently conduct the probe and accurately verify the cause of the accident," the Marine Corps said in a press release.

"The probe will proceed based on scientific evidence so that there will be no doubt left," it added.

The team is seeking to bring in foreign experts who joined the 2016 probe into the crash in Norway of the Super Puma helicopter, which was similar to that of the ill-fated Marineon.

The Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), a South Korean defense firm, developed the Marineon with technological support from Airbus Helicopters, formerly the Eurocopter, which produced the Super Puma.

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. The Marines had planned to introduce 28 Marineons by 2023. Following the accident, the Marine Corps and Army have grounded all Marineons and Surions.

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


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