Announcing the final results of its monthslong investigation into the cause of the July crash of a Marine Corps chopper, a team of civilian, government and military experts on Friday cited defects in the rotor mast made by a foreign contractor.
Five service members were killed when the MUH-1 Marineon, the Marine variant of the KUH-1 Surion helicopter, crashed shortly after a maintenance checkup at a military airport in the southeastern city of Pohang on July 17.
Investigators conduced a six-stage probe that included the analysis of flight data, CCTV footage and the disassembled fuselage.
The accident occurred when the main rotor became separated due to a fracture of the rotor mast, they said.
It was confirmed to be attributable to a crack in the rotor mast when manufactured, they added.
The French manufacturer of the device, Aubert & Duval, admitted its fault in the production process, according to the panel.
The announcement is in line with the tentative results of a probe, which were made public on Sept. 21.
Korea Aerospace Industries, a South Korean defense firm, developed the Marineon with technological support from Airbus Helicopters, formerly the Eurocopter, which has a contract with Aubert & Duval.
The findings ease the burden on KAI, which seeks to export the Surion.
KAI said it "humbly accepts" the outcome of the probe and promised every effort to prevent such an accident via thorough quality management of its product.
The Marines received the helicopters in January with a plan to introduce 28 Marineons by 2023. (Yonhap)