Nine dead in Thai military helicopter crash

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 17, 2014 9:40 AM

BANGKOK (Reuters) - A Thai military helicopter carrying nine army personnel has crashed in northern Thailand killing all on board, an army spokesman said on Monday.

The two-blade, twin-engine Bell 212 helicopter crashed 10 minutes after it took off from an army camp in Phayao province, 590 km (370 miles) from the capital Bangkok, deputy Royal Thai Army spokeswoman, Colonel Sirijan Ngathong, said.

The helicopter was carrying nine officers including Major General Songphol Thongjeen, deputy Third Area Army commander overseeing Thailand's north.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear, Royal Thai Army spokesman, Winthai Suvaree, said.

Thailand's military has a history of fatal helicopter crashes. Three in 2011, just days apart, left 17 people dead and forced the army to ground its fleet of Bell 212 helicopters.

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Engine failure and poor visibility are often blamed for the crashes.

(Reporting by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Louise Ireland)