Saturday 21 July 2012

Sarawak PKR vice-chair killed in copter crash

Sarawak PKR vice-chairperson Peter Ato Mayau has been killed in a helicopter crash in the hornbill state.

PKR’s Bukit Lanjan state assemblyperson Elizabeth Wong in a Twitter posting confirmed the death.

NONE“Received sad news... that our Keadilan colleague Peter Ato (left) didn’t survive the helicopter crash. Rest in peace,” she posted.

According to Bernama, the Eurocopter EC 120 helicopter belonging to Sebiro Holdings had crashed near the Lingga estuary while flying en route to Nanga Merit from Kuching International Airport yesterday.

Its four passengers were later swept away by strong currents but the helicopter’s German pilot Rico Steger managed to survive after swimming for four hours.

However, Peter, who was an engineer for the company, and two other passengers namely surveyor Siti Khuzaimah Anuar and architect Henry Lau Tee Yong were reported missing.

Peter’s body was the second to be found after Siti Khuzaimah which was discovered this morning.

‘A quiet but principled man’

Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian in a statement today said Peter’s death came as a shock to the party.

“Peter was a quiet but principled man who believed in the struggle for justice and fairness for the people. He was quietly working and campaigning in the Mambong parliamentary constituency in preparation for the coming general election.

“We thank him for his contribution to the party and to the people of his area. We will miss him as we carry on with our cause,” he said.

He added that PKR “shared in grief” with Peter’s family as they mourn the loss of a loved husband and father.

Condolences messages had also been flowing in Twitter, including from PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

“Condolences to the family of Peter Ato Mayau, Mambong branch chief and Sarawak deputy chief who was invovled in a helicopter accident,” she said in a Twitter posting.

"PKR Youth would like to extend its condolences to the family of Peter Ato Mayau, deputy president of Sarawak PKR who was killed in a helicopter tragedy," posted PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar.

‘One too many crashes’

However, Baru pointed out that there had been too many helicopter accidents in Sarawak over the past few years and called for a thorough investigation of the incident.

"I request that the authorities carry out a thorough investigation into the cause of the crash, and look into the overall safety procedures of helicopter services in the state," he said.

April last year, a helicopter in Sibu crashed while trying to take off after three of its passengers, including an aide to Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, had disembarked. Its pilot did not survive.

This was not the first time helicopter crashes in Sarawak have become the centre of attention as in 2004, three helicopters crashed within months, claiming a total of 14 lives.

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