UPDATED: After having announced on October 22 that the three-man crew of the helicopter which had crashed into the sea en route to its base in the Canary Islands was safe, the Spanish Defence Minister, Pedro Morenés, has now had to admit that the information was incorrect and that the crew is missing still.
During his press conference on October 25, he said that the Spanish government had no idea of the whereabouts or fate of the crew and went on to announce that a military judge had declared the investigations secret and that no answers would be given about the crash or the missing crew.
After thanking the Moroccan government for their assistance, he did admit that the original announcement was due to ‘crossed wires’. He was less forthcoming when repeatedly asked by journalists if the three helicopter crew had been kidnapped by pirates; the minister simply said: “We are undertaking intelligence work,” adding that “beyond the secret investigation, that issue is especially sensitive.”
THE Spanish Ministry of Defence has released a statement advising that a Spanish Air Force helicopter containing three people crashed into the Atlantic Ocean 280 miles off the Canary Islands at 4pm on October 22.
The statement said that the three were a captain, a lieutenant and sergeant, who were bringing the helicopter back from Dakar (Senegal), en route to their 802 Squadron base in the Canary Islands.
As the helicopter’s emergency beacon began transmitting when it crashed, Spain launched an F-18 from the Canary Islands to overfly the area.
Spain’s Defence Minister, Pedro Morenés, contacted his Moroccan counterpart, Abdelatif Luidi, and a Moroccan helicopter found the crashed helicopter floating in the Atlantic Ocean next to a life raft at 8.30pm.
A Moroccan patrol boat picked up the three crew members who were alive and well later on the same day.