THE HAGUE–The remains of the two fatal victims who died in the Dutch Defence helicopter crash near Aruba on July 19 will leave Curaçao on a military aircraft this evening, Friday, and arrive at the military air force base in Eindhoven tomorrow, Saturday.
Pilot Christine Martens (34) and tactical coordinator Erwin Warnies (33), both lieutenants second class of the oldest category, were on their way back to Curaçao from patrolling the maritime borders of Aruba when their NH-90 helicopter crashed into the sea.
The crash happened in sight of the helicopter station ship, HMNLS Groningen. Crew members of the patrol vessel who went to the crash site tried to reanimate Martens and Warnies, but to no avail. The two other crew members on the helicopter, who were seated in the back, survived and only sustained light injuries.
The cause of the crash is still unknown and is being investigated by Dutch authorities. A diving team has managed to retrieve the black box with the flight recorder. Early Wednesday, a KDC-10 military transport aircraft arrived in Curaçao with on board members of the Defence Safety Inspection and the Investigative Council for Safety.
Also, on board were detectives of the Royal Netherlands Marechaussee who will carry out a factual investigation. All passengers were tested for COVID-19 prior to their departure to Curaçao. Defence has secured psychological assistance for the crew of HMNLS Groningen.
The helicopter sank on Monday night after two of the four floating devices which kept the aircraft on the water surface burst. It proved impossible to secure the helicopter due to the high winds and waves, and it sank to a depth of more than one kilometre, at some 100km west of Aruba.
On Tuesday, HMNLS Groningen arrived in Curaçao with the on board the bodies of Martens and Warnies. The bodies will be transported on a KDC-10 military aircraft to Eindhoven air base where they will arrive Saturday around 1:00pm, and handed over to their families during a short ceremony. In Curaçao, there will be a short ceremony upon the flight’s departure on Friday evening.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/remains-helicopter-crash-victims-to-the-netherlands