‘I am sorry,’ says copter pilot
IPOH: Sudden strong winds kept pushing the helicopter upwards after it had taken a detour because of bad weather, says the pilot of the aircraft that crashed near Brinchang in Cameron Highlands.
Apologising for the incident, Capt Fedzrol Norazam, 43, said what happened was in the hands of God, but there was a possibility it was his fault as well.
“However, what is more important is that everyone is safe.
“I know my capabilities, and I am not scared to fly again, but I am just worried about people’s perception (where) they are evaluating the incident as pilot error,” he said from his bed at Hospital Raja Permaisuri Bainun here.
Recalling the incident, Fedzrol said he could not take the normal flight route via Kampung Raja on the highlands due to heavy rain and had to divert to the closest area with no rain, which was Brinchang.
“However, while heading there, suddenly out of nowhere, there was strong wind from below that kept pushing the helicopter upwards.
“The way the wind was pushing the helicopter, I knew something was not right, but did not say anything so as not to cause panic.
“I tried to turn around but it was getting difficult to control the helicopter, and then again, the wind started to push the helicopter closer to the hills.
“I am sorry,” he told reporters during a visit by Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin to the hospital yesterday.
Fedzrol said the helicopter was swaying from left to right, and that he had to use 100% of the engine power but still could not stabilise it.
“The speed was being reduced and the winds were getting stronger. I knew I had to perform an emergency landing.
“I made sure that during landing, the tail hit first to ensure that the (passenger) cabin was safe, but maybe it was not smooth sailing.”
Fedzrol said he was the last to come out of the helicopter, adding that he could have fainted for between two and three minutes.
“I heard someone calling me. My seat belt was still on, and my hand still holding on to the handle (cyclic grip).
“I was dizzy for about 10 minutes before asking if everyone was all right,” he said.
Fedzrol said the Flying Doctor Unit personnel frequently flew with him.
“So, they somehow sensed that something was wrong as I was making circles.”