Dutch NH90 Helicopter Crashes into Caribbean Sea Near Aruba, Two Killed

A Dutch NH90 military helicopter has crashed into the Caribbean Sea near the island of Aruba killing two of the crew, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

According to the Defense Ministry, the crash occurred Sunday afternoon when the maritime helicopter was nearing the end of a coast guard patrol. The helicopter was based on Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) Holland-class offshore patrol vessel HNLMS Groningen (P843).

The deceased were identified as 34-year-old pilot LTZ 2 OC* Christine Martens and 33-year-old tactical coordinator LTZ 2 OC Erwin Warnies. The two other crew abroad the helicopter escaped without serious injury.

A Coast Guard Helicopter and Defense Dive Team Support from HNLMS Groningen has been deployed to secure the NH90 helicopter. The team’s priority is recovering the helicopter’s flight recorder (black box) in particular.

The Defense Ministry said that the cause of the crash is under investigation. Commander of the Armed Forces Lieutenant Admiral Rob Bauer has announced that the Dutch military’s fleet of NH90 helicopters has been grounded pending the investigation.

Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld expressed condolences to the families of the victims.

The NH90 is primarily a maritime combat helicopter that can operate from patrol ships and air defense and command frigates. The Dutch Ministry of Defense also uses the aircraft as a transport helicopter over land or, for example, from the amphibious transport ships and the new Joint Logistic Support Ship Karel Doorman to drop off special forces, such as boarding teams.

A Dutch NH90 helicopter, assigned to 860 squadron, departs for a surveillance flight over Gulf of Aden, May 3, 2014. Dutch MoD Photo.

*lieutenant at sea in the 2nd class oldest category

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