Second chopper accident in 3 days

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Second chopper accident in 3 days


A Navy Lynx helicopter during a maritime drill in 2007. [YONHAP]

The military has begun a safety inspection of its anti-submarine helicopters after a second unexplained chopper accident in one week, officials said yesterday.

A Lynx helicopter that made an emergency landing in waters off the west coast late Saturday has been lifted onto a ship for transport, and an investigation team has been sent to the scene, they said.

The chopper was forced to make an emergency landing 20.7 kilometers (12.9 miles) south of Socheong Island at around 10 p.m. Saturday on its way back to a Navy destroyer from a patrolling mission, the military said.

All three people aboard were rescued.

The emergency landing was the second accident this week involving a British-made Lynx helicopter, which were put into service in South Korea from 1991. Another crashed Thursday 14.5 kilometers off the southwest coast while on a routine patrol mission. One of the four people aboard was confirmed dead, while three others remained unaccounted for.

Officials said all but two choppers have been grounded for safety inspections.

South Korea has 25 Lynx helicopters for use in detecting enemy submarines and fishing boasts operating illegally in the South Korean waters. The two crafts involved in the accidents were put into operation in 1991.

With a full cruising speed of 234 kilometers per hour and flight duration of two hours and 50 minutes, the Lynx helicopters are equipped with torpedoes and electronic aviation equipment.

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