Poor maintenance caused fatal chopper crash

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Poor maintenance caused fatal chopper crash

The crash of a marine chopper in July that killed five troops was caused by a fracture of the rotor mast, an inquiry team said Friday.

Announcing the results of its investigation, the team of civilian, government and military experts said that a foreign subcontractor that produced the rotor mast mistakenly used a water cooling-type heat treatment program when it was supposed to use an air cooling-type program.

The MUH-1 Marineon, the Marine variant of the KUH-1 Surion helicopter, crashed shortly after a maintenance checkup at a military airport in the southeastern city of Pohang on July 17. It was seen falling after its rotor blades became separated from the fuselage just seconds after takeoff.

“The accident occurred due to a fracture that caused the rotor mast to be separated [from the fuselage]. The fracture is confirmed to have occurred due to cracks that were created during the production process,” the team said in a press release.

“The supplier has acknowledged [its production error] and we are currently investigating the quality control process,” it added.

The Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI), a South Korean defense firm, developed the Marineon with technological support from Airbus Helicopters, formerly Eurocopter Group.

Following the accident, the Marine Corps and Army grounded all Marineons and Surions.

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