Military choppers, mountaineers deployed to Cessna crash site in Mt. Mayon
TWO military helicopters were deployed on Tuesday for the search and rescue operations for four people on board a Cessna aircraft that went missing early Saturday morning in Albay, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
The possible crash site, based on photos of a plane wreckage, has been identified along the slope of Mt. Mayon, an active volcano.
CAAP, in a media advisory on Tuesday, said a Philippine Air Force Black Hawk chopper was sent out twice in the morning, initially for a reconnaissance flight then supposedly to drop off the search and rescue team.
The search on foot was canceled “as they were unable to find a safe landing spot at the designated drop off point due to intensified winds in the area,” CAAP said.
A Philippine Navy AW109 aircraft with infrared camera for heat detection was later deployed to reach the possible crash site, but also had to turn back due to bad weather condition.
“As of 01:15 PM, the SAR (search and rescue) team has once again departed for the mission, taking off at 01:09 PM. As the mission is ongoing, updates will be provided once available,” CAAP said.
Camalig Mayor Carlos Irwin G. Baldo, Jr. said the team included experienced climbers from the Federation of Bicol Mountaineers and Mountaineering Federation of the Philippines.
The rescue team also will attempt to utilize all-terrain vehicles to reach the possible crash site by land once the weather permits, it added.
CAAP noted that the missing Cessna aircraft is compliant with an airworthiness certification.
The four people on board included a pilot and one crew member, both Filipinos, and two Australian passengers. — MSJ