HANOI - Four people were killed Wednesday when a Vietnamese military helicopter crashed minutes after it set off from southern Ho Chi Minh City, an army official told AFP. The UH-1 helicopter - known as a Huey - lost contact just eight minutes after departing from Tan Son Nhat international airport early Wednesday, army deputy commander Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan told AFP. “All the four crew members onboard were killed. We are checking the reason for the crash,” Tuan said.

An online report by the state-run Tuoi Tre newspaper said the crash happened in Binh Chanh district outside the city formerly known as Saigon.

Vietnam’s civilian aviation sector generally has a decent safety record, but there have been a number of incidents in recent years involving military aircraft.

In July last year, 19 people were killed and two others were injured when a Russian-made Mi-171 chopper crashed in the capital Hanoi during a training exercise.