MaxDefense Philippines Facebook page uploaded a video that taken moments before the helicopter used by Philippine National Police Chief Gen. Archie Gamboa and seven others crashed in a residential area in San Pedro, Laguna.
In the video, it showed that the 2-year-old Bell 429 GlobalRanger helicopter’s rotor wash caused the mini dust storm and resulted in zero visibility.
According to the witnesses, the zero visibility made the helicopter hit an electric cable that caused them to crash near a residential area.
The Generals before they boarded the helicopter. Photo from PNP.
Several followers of MaxDefense Philippines believe that the crash appeared to be due to human error.
“Poor judgment on the pilot area is not safe for Heli ops…second thing air assets should be used in PNP ops..the area is accessible by land they should have opted for land travel,” netizen Gaad Flores said.
“I look throughout the video carefully, I know why the chopper crashed, the pilot did the wrong move. Why? The pilot didn’t do a vertical take-off but instead, the Pilots taxied the chopper a forward take-off to gain speed for immediate take-off. I guess situational awareness is the problem here. I understand that the pilots cannot see their point of view because of the dust. But they should be aware of the cables since they received “adequate training”. The Pilots should be aware that, it is a bad idea to do the forward take-off on low altitudes since there are cables nearby. Not to mention my father was in the chopper,” Juan Paolo Magaway commented.
“It’s dangerous for helicopters to fly straight up high, a “vortex ring” could occur which means losing lift because there is no air inside the space, the pilot since it has no visibility might have tried to fly high vertically, but a vortex ring occurred, he may have noticed he is losing altitude despite going into full power, thus he needs to tilt the helicopter in any direction to escape the vortex but he is too low now that he hit the power lines. dust may also be a culprit clogging the engine filter and losing power,” netizen Mark Ramon Caniosa remarked.
Aside from Gamboa, Major Generals Jovic Ramos and Mariel Magaway, his comptrollership and intelligence heads, respectively; PNP Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, an aide, a technician, and two pilots survived the incident and brought to the nearest hospital.
However, Ramos and Magaway are in “critical condition.”
The PNP is going to be temporarily led by Deputy Chief for Administration General Camilo Cascolan.
A special task group was formed to investigate the chopper crash.