13 dead in Indonesian Army helicopter crash

13 army personnel die in chopper crash in Indonesia's Sulawesi Island

Photo by: Shutterstock
Photo by: Shutterstock

At least 13 dead in army chopper crash.

All 13 army personnel on board a military helicopter died Sunday when it crashed during a thunderstorm in mountains on an island east of Borneo.

The chopper is reported to have exploded then fallen into a plantation in Kasiguncu village, Poso in Sulawesi Province at 6:55 pm (1155GMT) during a operation to catch the country's most wanted man, Abu Wardah Santoso.

"The accident happened as the helicopter was hit by lightning," Antara News quoted military spokesperson Col. Made Sutia as saying.

Poso district police chief Adjunct Senior Commissioner Rony Suseno said that the bodies of 13 people had been evacuated to Palu, Sulawesi's capital.

An investigation is ongoing.

A combined force of 2,000 police and army officers is presently hunting Santoso, the leader of an eastern Indonesian terror cell, in the jungles of Poso.

He is suspected of involvement in the deaths of a number of policemen and civilians.

TRTWorld, AA