MANILA – A rescue helicopter of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) on Tuesday located the wreckage of the missing general aviation Piper aircraft in San Mariano, Isabela.
"At 8:05 a.m., on December 5, 2023, the Philippine Air Force's (W-3A) 'Sokol' helicopter, dedicated for the search and rescue efforts for the missing Piper Plane RPC 1234, has been able to locate the missing aircraft in the vicinity of Barangay Casala, San Mariano, Isabela," the PAF said in a statement.
While the PAF helicopter could not land due to the strong winds and growing fog, its crew was able to relay the location of the crash site to ground units who are now proceeding to the scene.
"Tactical Operations Group 2, the PAF unit in charge of air operations in the area, has relayed that apart from the 'Sokol', a civilian R-44 aircraft of Lion Air helped in the search. Current ground search party on the other hand are composed of personnel from the Philippine Army, PNP (Philippine National Police), BFP (Bureau of Fire Protection) and MDRRMO (municipal disaster risk reduction management office) units from Palanan, San Mariano and Divilacan with 'Dumagats' as guide," the PAF added.
Isabela Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head, lawyer Constante Foronda Jr., said aerial rescuers will finalize strategy that they will apply on Wednesday, but the ground rescuers are still trying to reach the crash site by foot.
Capt. Levy Abul and a passenger were on board the Piper plane that went missing after departing from Cauayan City Airport.
The ill-fated aircraft went missing after departing from Cauayan Airport around 9:39 a.m. on Nov. 30. It was supposed to arrive at Palanan Airport at 10:23 am. of the same day.
"Meanwhile, the PAF commits the availability of its parajumpers and additional rescue helicopters from the 505th Search and Rescue Group for possible heli rescue, once weather permits," the PAF said. (With a report from Ma. Cristina Arayata/PNA)