Body found near debris from missing Malaysian helicopter carrying minister and VIP entourage

Debris from the missing Eurocopter AS 350 helicopter are believed to be found near Batang Lupar, Malaysia.

Debris from the missing Eurocopter AS 350 helicopter that was carrying VIPs including a Malaysian minister was found near Batang Lupar on Friday morning, Prime Minister Najib Razak said.

Local media reported that the body of a woman was also found near where the helicopter parts were found. Prime Minister Najib did not rule out the possibility of anyone having survived the crash, saying it was too early to conclude that all people on board perished.

The debris comprised a rotor blade, a floatation device, part of a helicopter wall, a door and a seat.

"The search and rescue operations will continue until they find the main body (of the helicopter). I was informed that they were found near a river in Batang Lupar. The operations will be challenging as the river is considered wide," Najib said, according to the Star.

The helicopter went missing on Thursday evening with five Malaysian VIPs including Plantation Industries and Commodities Deputy Minister Noriah Kasnon and her husband Asmuni Abdullah and four others. The helicopter had left Betong at 4.12pm and was headed to Kuching. But Sarawak Police Commissioner Muham­mad Sabtu Osman had informed earlier that the authorities had lost contact with the helicopter 20 minutes after it left Betong.

Other people who are reported to be on board the helicopter were Ministry Secretary-General Dr. Sundaran Annamalai, Kuala Kangsar MP and Malaysian Palm Oil Board chairman Wan Mohammad Khair-il Anuar Wan Ahmad, Noriah's bodyguard Ahmad Sobri and Capt. Rudolf Rex Ragas.