THE Government of the United States of America has agreed to offer technical assistance and personnel to Ghana to investigate the circumstances that led to the crash of a Ghana Air Force helicopter in the Atiwa Forest last Saturday.
President J.A Kufuor, who made this known in Accra yesterday, appealed to the personnel of the Ghana Air Force to co-operate with their counterparts from the United States.
He was speaking at a meeting with the personnel of the Ghana Air Force at Burma Camp to console them over the death of the victims of the March 16 crash. The Agusta Bell 412 helicopter, which was tasked to undertake a medical evacuation at Nkawkaw in the Eastern Region, crashed in the Atiwa Forest near Sagyimase.
The deceased were Wing Commander Ben Acheampong, the pilot, Flt Lt Seth Lartey, co-pilot, Corporals Joseph Bosomefi and Yao Akoensi, both technicians, Corporal Adu Buxton and George Debrah, both patients, and Victor Nyarko, a nurse from the Holy Family Hospital at Nkawkaw.
President Kufuor gave the assurance that the government will provide the requisite logistics support, including modern equipment, for the Ghana Air Force to discharge its duties more efficiently.
He said Wing Commander Acheampong and the other members of the crew died as heroes of the country. The President urged them not to lose heart because of the loss of their departed colleagues, and that the government will stand by them and appreciate their steadfastness in protecting the country.
Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuor, the Minister of Defence, said thorough investigations will be conducted into the accident to forestall its recurrence and more logistics support will be provided for their efficient performance. Air Vice Marshal E.A Mantey, the Chief of Air Staff, said the personnel of the Air Force will not be daunted by the accident, but will continue to defend the country.
At a separate meeting with the bereaved families, President Kufuor said, " I am here to express my personal and the State's grief on the loss that had occurred to your immediate families and the country. The accident has deprived us of the lives of brave and courageous officers of the Ghana Air Force.
"My presence here is to show you that you are not alone in mourning, but the President and the State apparatus are with you".
The President said the deceased were performing their duties for the country and they lost their lives in line with their duties and so the government will not forget them.
“Let us take comfort that our beloved ones left this world with honour and the State will be with you,” he added.