KUALA BELAIT, BRUNEI (BNO NEWS) -- An air force helicopter crashed in western Brunei on Friday afternoon, killing twelve people and injuring two others in what is believed to be the country's worst ever aviation disaster, the country's ministry of defense confirmed on Saturday.
The Bell 212 helicopter was carrying fourteen service members when it went down in an area known as Ulu Belait, not far from Kuala Belait in western Brunei. Those on board included three crew members and eleven military cadets, although their identities were not immediately released.
"In the early morning hours today, the Royal Brunei Air Force continued its search and rescue operation for the missing personnel involved in the Bell 212 crash that occurred yesterday afternoon," the ministry of defense said in a statement on Saturday. "Near to noon today, it was reported that all of the personnel involved in the crash have been accounted for, bringing the tally to twelve fatalities and two survivors."
The two survivors were taken to the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital where they were said to be in a stable condition. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah expressed his condolences to the families of the victims and said he hoped the victims would be blessed and placed with the pious. He and Prince Abdul Mateen also visited the survivors in hospital on late Friday and met with their families.
The bodies of the victims were recovered on late Friday and early Saturday morning and are being prepared for burial, the ministry said. It said the accident happened when the helicopter was returning to the capital Bandar Seri Begawan after the passengers underwent jungle warfare training courses.
It was not immediately known what caused the accident, which is believed to be the country's worst ever aviation disaster. There is no record of previous aviation accidents in Brunei, but Royal Brunei Airlines flight 238 crashed into a slope in Lambir Hills National Park in neighboring Malaysia in September 1997, killing all ten people on board.
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