KEMAMAN, June 16 — “One of the pilots was making a cross sign with his hands in my direction and I thought they were in a training session,” said a witness who captured a glimpse of two pilots on parachute who subsequently plunged to their death after their 108 Hawk fighter jet had crashed.
Siti Zamilah Mohd Hussin, 27, said she was sweeping the courtyard of her house on a hill in Kampung Pondok Pasir here about 12.30pm when she spotted the two men on parachutes.
“I saw one of them tugging at his parachute rope and making a cross sign with his hands in my direction. I responded by waving at them because I thought the two men were involved in parachute training,” she told reporters here this evening.
She said the two pilots were subsequently seen plunging in the rear of the house before she heard a loud thud.
At 2.30pm, the pilots, Major Yasmi Mohamed Yusof, 39, and Major Hasri Zahari, 31, were found dead.
Their fighter jet vanished from the radar, about 30 minutes after they had taken off from the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Kuantan base at 11.30am.
The bodies of Yasmi Mohamed and Hasri were found in swamp forested area in Kampung Pondok Pasir, adjacent to Kampung Yak Yah in Ibok here.
Meanwhile, Ali Mohamad Mohd Hussin, 37, who was also in the neighbourhood, said he heard two loud bangs while sitting in front of his house in Kampung Pondok Pasir here.
“I heard the sound twice, then everything went quiet. I tried to look around but saw nothing. A few hours later, I saw a helicopter hovering in the vicinity of my house,” he said.
Another witness, Hafizuddin Yunus, 32, said he saw the fighter jet was flying low before its emission of thick smoke.
At the time, he said he was riding a motorcycle and could see the jet clearly, about 1,000 feet above the ground and heard its engine roar noisily before it headed towards the Tasik Buku and Seri Bando forest reserve area near here.
“I saw the jet was descending as if it was going to crash but then it disappeared before thick smoke billowed,” he said. — Bernama