KEMAMAN, June 19 — The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) radar detector has the full recording of the Hawk 108 fighter jet crash right up to the final seconds, says RMAF chief Datuk Seri Affendi Buang.
He said the radar detector was in use during the flight of the aircraft last Thursday before tragedy struck.
“The RMAF has obtained initial evidence from the radar detector but it is still too early for us to make any conclusion on what had (really) happened.
“Apart from that, the RMAF has also found both ejection seats of the fighter jet as well as the main wreckage which did not sink into the swamp,” he told a press conference after inspecting the crash site at Kampung Yak Yah in Kemaman, Terengganu here.
Affendi said after recovering the aircraft component, RMAF had succeeded on making a rough sketch to determine the actual situation of the jet at the swamp.
Affendi said to ensure the investigation was conducted systematically and professionally, RMAF had called the Science and Technology Research Institute For Defence (STRIDE) and the Hawk jet fighter manufacturer to determine to actual cause of the crash.
Asked if the particular aircraft had undergone inspection prior to the operation, he said the aircraft had just completed its routine maintenance check at the 500-hour interval according to schedule.
“After completing 500 hours of flying, the aircraft enters minor servicing in which it undergoes a functional check flight by a qualified pilot,” he added.
Affendi said the fighter jet had also made its first flight on Tuesday (June 13) and the RMAF found the aircraft experienced a slight hitch which was duly repaired and (the aircraft was) flown again on Wednesday (June 14).
“In the flight on Wednesday, the aircraft was declared well inspected and met the technical flight aspects,” he said.
On the operation status of the remaining Hawk 108 and 208, Affendi said for the time being, RMAF had suspended the service of both types of fighter jets until the current case was resolved.
On the challenge to extract the ill-fated Hawk 108 wreckage, Affendi said RMAF was facing difficulties as the main wreckage had sunk into the swamp.
“The swamp has a high water table so when we use machinery to extricate it, water will fill the hole of the crash site in which main wreckage is found.
“At the moment, the Royal Engineer Regiment will be building a track with timber logs to bring in excavator to retrieve the wreckage today,” he said.
In the fighter jet crash on Thursday, two RMAF pilots, Major Hasri Zahari, 31, and Major Yazmi Mohamed Yusof, 39, were killed.
The aircraft left Kuantan Air Base at 11am on that day and lost communication about 30 minutes later before the bodies were found at 2.30pm in the Kampung Yak Yah swamp. — Bernama