President expresses condolences over demise of officers in chopper crash

President expresses condolences over demise of officers in chopper crash

An ambulance carrying the bodies of victims of the army helicopter that crashed in Poso on arriving at the Police Hospitals Palu, Central Sulawesi, on Monday (21/3). (FOTO ANTARA / Basri Marzuki)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) expressed his condolences on the demise of 13 military officers who were killed in a helicopter crash in Kasiguncu village, Poso Pesisir, Poso District, Central Sulawesi, on Sunday evening.

"I here with expressed my deep condolences over the deaths of 13 military officers in the crash of the Army Helicopter HA 5171 in Poso. They died while carrying out their duties," the president wrote on his Twitter account on Monday.

The crash of the Army Bell 412 helicopter No. HA-5171 is believed to have been caused by bad weather. However, investigation is still ongoing to find the causes behind the crash, Maj. Gen. Tatang Sulaiman, the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNIs) spokesman, stated at the TNI headquarters during a press conference here on Sunday.

At least 13 military officers were killed when their helicopter crashed in the district of Poso, Central Sulawesi, on Sunday, the police said.

Poso Police Chief Adj. Sr Comr Roni remarked that Todulako military regiment commander Col Saiful Anwar was among the victims of the crash.

The helicopter crashed near the village of Kasiguncu on Sunday at 6:55 p.m. local time.

Roni offered no details regarding the incident, including about survivors, if any, and the causes of the crash.

He said the bodies of the victims had been moved to the city of Poso.

The jungles in the mountainous area of Poso are known to be the hideout of the long-sought Santoso-led terrorist group.

Commander of the TNI General Gatot Nurmantio noted that search operations were still ongoing to locate the black box of Indonesias military helicopter, which crashed in Poso on Sunday afternoon.

The general arrived in Palu on Monday morning to pay his last respects to the 13 military officers, including three colonels, who were killed in the Bell 412 helicopter accident.

The victims include Col Anwar, commander of the Tadulalo Regiment 132, who led an operation to hunt the Santoso-led terrorist group in Poso.

The TNI chief is in Palu on behalf of President Jokowi who mourned the deaths of the military officers.

The ill-fated helicopter, with 13 people aboard, left Napu for Poso on Sunday at 5:15 p.m. local time, but after flying for 20 minutes, it crashed due to downpour and strong winds. No one survived in the crash.

After the identification process is completed, the remains of the officers will be taken to Jakarta for a military funeral at the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery located in southern Jakarta.

The military said that the accident was most likely caused by bad weather.(*)

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