The Philippine Defense Department says it is grounding the entire Black Hawk fleet after six people died in a Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk combat utility helicopter crash during night flight training near Capas in the province of Tarlac.
“We at the Department of National Defense extend our deepest sympathies to the families of the three pilots and three airmen of an S-70i Blackhawk helicopter of the Philippine Air Force who perished when their plane crashed in the vicinity of Crow Valley near Clark Air Base, Pampanga, after undertaking a night proficiency flight on Wednesday evening, June 23,” the defense department said on Thursday.
Tarlac police were informed about the incident on Thursday morning. The Philippine Air Force (PAF) vowed to conduct a thorough investigation into the crash.
“In the meantime, the entire Blackhawk fleet are grounded while the incident is being investigated,” the Philippine defense department said.
The S-70i Black Hawk helicopters were built by Poland. According to PAF spokesperson Lt. Col. Maynard Mariano, the downed helicopter came from the first batch delivered to the Philippines in December 2020.