Identities of the abductors are still unknown
MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) - Divers on Wednesday evening, August 22, recovered the wreckage of the plane that crashed off Masbate and carried Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo and its two pilots to their deaths.
They also retrieved the body of one of the pilots as a machine hauled the ill-fated aircraft out of the sea. (Watch more in the video below.)
"Fuselage lifted to and hanging by rope at shallower level where scuba divers could work on it. One more body recovered," Transportation Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas posted on his Twitter account.
The body, which was "unrecognizable," according to Roxas, was later identified as Capt Jessup Bahinting.
Bahinting's daughter, Sarah, was able to identify him through his ring and watch, said Lt Col Julian Pacatan, commander of the Army 9th Infantry Battalion in Masbate.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said retrieval operations for the other pilot, Nepalese Kshitiz Chand, will continue. "We will continue to search for the other body, go as far as we can."
The families of Bahinting and Chand are now in La Funeraria Eternas, where Bahinting's remains were brought.
On Wednesday, divers and teams from the Philippine military and coast guard lifted the plane wreckage to retrieve the bodies of the two pilots.
The operation was originally scheduled on 10:30 am, but pushed through past 3 pm after being suspended due to strong water undercurrent.
Bahinting and Chand were initially believed to be trapped inside the plane's cockpit.
However, only one body was recovered from the plane today.
The plane was carrying Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, his aide Jun Abrasado, and the two pilots when it crashed into the waters of Masbate on Saturday, August 18. Abrasado survived the crash.
Robredo's body was recovered by volunteer British diver Matt Reed after 3 days of intense search on Tuesday, August 22. - Rappler.com