Deputy minister's body found after Malaysia helicopter crash

Search teams on Friday recovered the body of a Malaysian deputy minister in the Borneo island state of Sarawak near where a helicopter carrying her and five others is believed to have crashed, officials said. The Eurocopter AS350 had been ferrying Plantation Industries and Commodities Deputy Minister Noriah Kasnon and her husband Asmuni Abdullah from Sarawak's interior to its capital Kuching when it went missing Thursday. Parliament member Wan Mohammad Khair-il Anuar Wan Ahmad, two other government officials and a Filipino pilot were also on board. Community development minister Rohani Abdul Karim confirmed in a Facebook post that the woman's body was Noriah's. "Now, I’m at the Sarawak police headquarters to receive the body of ... Noriah, who is the first victim of the helicopter crash," she wrote. Nor Hisham Mohammad, a local fire and rescue official, told AFP the body was found near the banks of a river. He said divers had begun searching for wreckage in the river which, like many in rugged, jungled Sarawak, are prowled by massive crocodiles. Search teams on Friday recovered a rotor blade, a flotation device, and other debris. The purpose of the group's travel was not immediately clear, but much of the country's political attention in recent weeks has been focused on election campaigning in Sarawak, which holds state polls Saturday. Crashes of small aircraft and helicopters are not uncommon in Malaysia. In April 2015, parliament member Jamaluddin Jarjis, a close aide to Prime Minister Najib Razak, perished in a helicopter crash along with five others not far from the capital Kuala Lumpur.

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