Helicopter crashes in Malaysian jungle on Borneo island; US pilot killed, co-pilot injured

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Helicopter crashes in Malaysia; US pilot killed

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A helicopter used to transport timber crashed in a remote Malaysian rain forest on Borneo island, killing the American pilot and injuring the co-pilot, officials said Sunday.

The helicopter went down Friday in a logging zone in Malaysia’s eastern Sarawak state, a district police official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to make public statements.

The American pilot was killed and his co-pilot was hospitalized, the official said Saturday. Authorities have not determined the cause of the accident.

Malaysia’s New Straits Times newspaper and national news agency, Bernama, identified the pilot who was killed as William Charles Scott, 51, from Meridian, Mississippi, and the other man as David William Bergin, 49, from Bend, Oregon.

Bergin, who had a fractured hand, spinal injury and other bruises, told the New Straits Times at a Sarawak hospital that the helicopter went into an uncontrollable spin before it crashed.

“That’s all I could recall. It happened in a flash,” the Times on Sunday quoted him as saying.

A nurse at Sarawak’s Columbia Asia Medical Center confirmed that Bergin was a patient, but said he was not able to come to the phone. She could not give information about when he might be released from the hospital.

A U.S. Embassy representative in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s main city, said she was aware of the accident but could not release the pilots’ identities because of the embassy’s privacy policy.

The helicopter was operated by the Malaysian subsidiary of Portland, Oregon-based Erickson Air-Crane Inc., which harvests timber for Malaysian loggers in Borneo. A company employee based in Sarawak also confirmed the crash and the pilot’s death, but she could not give details and declined to be identified.

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