Backup Sokol helicopter of Secretary Gazmin crashed

A Philippine Air Force PZL W-3 Sokol combat utility chopper crashed after its take-off at the 103rd Brigade Headquarters of Philippine Army in Camp Ranao in Marawi City. The helicopter fell approximately 30 meters at 2:23 PM today.

Fourth Infantry Division commander Ricardo Visaya and Division’s spokesman Maj. Christian Uy were on board when it crashed. Uy and a civilian was injured.

According to Armed Forces of the Philippines Headquarters, “The chopper was supposed to serve as backup for Secretary of National Defense, Voltaire T. Gazmin who was aboard the other aircraft.”

The chopper carrying Secretary Gazmin safely arrived at Langundingan Airport at 3:13 PM.

AFP Chief of Staff General Gregorio Pio P. Catapang Jr. ordered Philippine Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Jeffrey F. Delgado to determine the accident.

PZL Swidnik S.A. of Poland got the award worth PhP 2.8 billion to deliver eight PZL W-3 Sokol helicopters for the Air Force in 2009. First batch was delivered on February 2012 and the final batch last February 2013.

“If you are a soldier entering the fray at the height of battle, of what use is a machine gun that is set aside and unable to fire? Did no one think about this before the contracts were signed? Why was this even approved in the first place?” President Aquino said during 2013 SONA.

The purchase was finalized towards the end of President Arroyo’s administration.

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