Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s chief of staff as well as a former ambassador to the United States were among six people killed in a helicopter crash near the capital.
Witnesses told state news agency Bernama they saw the helicopter explode in mid-air before it crashed into the ground in the town of Semenyih outside Kuala Lumpur late on Saturday.
For Najib, it is a national and personal tragedy. Passengers were returning from his daughter’s wedding reception.
The grief-stricken premier told a news conference that “no stone will be left unturned” by investigators determining the cause of the crash.
He said it was too early to draw any conclusions but that “a full, thorough and comprehensive investigation must be carried out”.
Among other victims, the helicopter was carrying Najib’s chief of staff, Azlin Alias, and lawmaker Jamaluddin Jarjis, formerly Malaysia’s top envoy to Washington.
“We have lost two figures who had made great contributions to the government, party and country in this tragedy,” Bernama quoted a tearful Najib as saying.
The other four killed were identified as businessman Tan Huat Seang, the pilot, co-pilot and a bodyguard. All six bodies were recovered from the wreckage on Saturday night, officials said. Malaysia’s civil aviation department has begun an investigation.