Three Thai Helicopters Crash, 17 Dead – What Are the Real Reasons?

Three Thai military helicopters went down near the border of Thailand and Myanmar, causing the deaths of 17 people. The first helicopter that went down was a Huey, the second, which attempted to rescue the first helicopter, was a Blackhawk, and the third was a Belle, which attempted to rescue the first two helicopters

The sequence of the crashes is as follows:

Huey crashed 16 July 2011 – 5 people died Blackhawk crashed 20 July 2011 – 9 people died (including a reporter) Belle crashed 24 July 2011 – 3 people died

The military has a new website,, for people to write comments and provide condolences to the families of the dead.

Many high-ranking military officers have been pressured by the relatives of the dead, the press, and the people following this story to successfully retrieve the bodies. But as the situation continues, this task’s success remains in doubt.

The media and online community blame this tragedy on the pilots, who may have lacked experience, and on the helicopters, which may not have been flight worthy. But what really caused the crashes?

There is a myth that may explain this tragedy. Twenty years ago, a minority group that was not under Thai or Myanmar rule, call “Karang,” controlled the area around the crash site. After many attempts to dislodge the Karang by Thai and Myanmar forces failed, the area was overtaken from both borders and the Karang soldiers were killed.

Twenty years ago, 9 soldiers working in this area were hunted down and killed by the Karang; only 4 survived. Only 2 dead bodies were able to be brought back home; the other 3 bodies were not returned home until today.

The Thai government attempted many times to force the Karang to withdraw from the area, but to no avail. The reasons why the Karang can’t be forced to withdraw wasn’t very clear.

So, were the 3 helicopters brought down by the Karang? We do not really know if these helicopters were shot down or crashed due to fog, rain, and smoke, which could have affected the pilots’ vision.

This may become an ongoing argument with many unanswered questions. The best thing that the rescue team can do was to retrieve the dead bodies and the helicopters by launching a land-based recovery operation. Thai people put their hearts on the soldiers who worked in this duty, and this tragedy created unity throughout the country.

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