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Police helicopter crash in deep south injures seven officers

Seven police officers were injured, four who included three pilots seriously, after the Bell 121 helicopter made an emergency landing amid thunderstorm but crashed into a dense jungle in the Balahala forest in Yala province yesterday evenning.

The No 2223 police helicopter was in its way back to a border police hill base in Balahala forest in Bannang Sata district.

The helicopter with seven border police officers lost contact with the control tower when it was flying over Sakai canal in tambon Mae Wat of Thanto district late on Thursday afternoon.

It lifted from Bannang Sata district heading for a border patrol police (BPP) base in Balahala forest, but went missing shortly after takeoff.

Search of the missing resumed this morning and they were found late in the morning.

However as the crash site was dense jungle, the access to the site was possible by foot rescue team.

By late today, rescue teams located the crash site and reached then.

The aircraft was extensively damaged.

All were injured and were taken out and flown by helicopter to hospitals in Yala and Hat Yai.

Four seriously injured are three pilots, Pol Capt Thanongsak Prabripu, Pol Maj Asakorn Rakdee, Pol Capt Arthit Phiroon, and a mechanic.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)