RMAF Pilot Killed In Hawk Jet Crash At Penang Airbase
A Hawk 108 aircraft crashed at the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) airbase in Butterworth, Penang at 10pm yesterday, 16 November, causing one death and an injury
Speaking to New Straits Times, a witness said that a "ball of flames" emerged as soon as the aircraft landed and caused an explosion.
"The aircraft dragged on before it exploded a second time," said Mastura Mohd Nordin, whose tomyam shop is about 100m away from the airbase at Kampung Benggali Sungai Puyu.
"We have been here for a long time and we know the type of sounds coming from an aircraft, but this was very different."
The 44-year-old restaurateur added that she did not see any parachutes being opened nearby
"All we could see was the huge fire," she recounted.
Witnesses claimed that about 30 minutes after the crash, they saw a helicopter flying out from the airbase.
When New Straits Times reporters arrived at the scene, they saw many servicemen near the said aircraft, which was almost at the tail end of the runway.
The Hawk 108 is a two-seater aircraft generally used as an advanced jet trainer, reported the English daily.
The serviceman who had died has been identified as Captain Mohamad Affendi Bustamy, while the injured is Major Mohd Fareez Omar
RMAF said both Affendi and Fareez were undergoing night flying when the incident occurred, reported New Straits Times.
The latter is currently in stable condition and is receiving treatment at the Seberang Jaya Hospital.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has confirmed the incident and said that he is currently waiting for a detailed report of the cause of the crash.
In a statement last night, RMAF also confirmed the incident and said it is "taking immediate actions and will inform the latest about the incident".
"As such, we urge the people not to speculate on the matter," the country's air force pleaded.
In a report today, 17 November, Sinar Harian highlighted that there have been seven Hawk aircraft model crashes in Malaysia since 1997 — not limited to the 108 model. Among the cases, three incidents involved deaths.
In 1998, a pilot was killed while flying a Hawk 208. He crashed in Kuala Betis, Gua Musang, about 200km from Kota Bharu, Kelantan.
Later in 2003, two pilots were killed when a Hawk 100 fighter plane crashed in the waters of Pantai Sepat, Kuantan, Pahang, and in 2005, a pilot was killed while flying a Hawk 208 at Labuan RMAF airbase.