The death toll from the Namibia Defence Force Z-9 helicopter crash on Friday has risen to six, after two critically injured passengers succumbed to their injuries.
The Harbin Z-9 helicopter was carrying ten people to the capital Windhoek when it crashed at Grootfontein shortly after takeoff. Four people on board, including co-pilot Eve Naufiku Nghimwenavali, died in the crash while several others were injured.
The aircraft was carrying relatives of soldiers – two boys, believed to be three and five years old, died on Friday and Saturday after being admitted to Katutura State Hospital, The Namibian reports.
All six remaining survivors are being treated for serious injuries. The Namibian reports that one passenger lost a leg, while the pilot is said to have sustained second or third degree burns.
Defence minister Nahas Angula said the helicopter failed to gain altitude and crashed at the end of the runway and burst into flames. He said an investigation into the incident has been launched.
“We are mourning our colleagues who passed away in the tragic accident and we are praying for those in hospital to recover soon. Experts are busy with the investigations,” he said.
The Namibia Defence Force received two Z-9s from China in 2012. Other helicopters in its fleet include two Mi-17s, a SA 315 Cheetah, two SA 316 Chetaks and an AW 139.