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A Vietnamese helicopter is believed to have crashed on Tuesday morning, shortly after it took off in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau for a training session.
Nguyen Nhat, deputy transport minister, told VnExpress that the crash of the EC130 happened at around 8:30 a.m. The crash site is believed to be Dinh Mountain in Tan Thanh District, around 80 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City.
A search and rescue mission is under way for the two pilot trainees and their teacher.
The Eurocopter EC130 is a single engine light helicopter originally launched and produced by the Eurocopter Group, now Airbus Helicopters.
The model has various safety features, including flight data recorders and crash-worthy seats.
The safety record of Vietnam’s civilian aviation sector is generally good, but over the past years there have been several incidents involving military aircraft.
In late August, a Czechoslovakia-era jet training aircraft crashed into a paddy field on the fringes of the central province of Phu Yen, killing one pilot and critically injuring one passer-by on the ground.
Last June, Vietnam's Air Defense suffered a double loss in one week. On June 14, a Su-30MK2 Vietnamese fighter crashed off the central province of Nghe An. Only one of the two pilots made it out alive. Two days later, a CASA-212-40 with nine people on board went missing while searching for the Su-30MK2.
In January 2015, four people were killed when a Vietnamese military helicopter, a UH-1 and known as a Huey, crashed minutes after it set off from Ho Chi Minh City, an army official told AFP.
In July 2014, 19 people died and two others were injured when a Russian-made Mi-171 chopper crashed in Hanoi during a training exercise.
In 2008, five Vietnamese air force officers were killed when their twin-engine light transport aircraft crashed on the outskirts of Hanoi, according to AFP.
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