PH Tatler editor Anton San Diego recalls Batangas chopper crash

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Tatler editor-in-chief Anton San Diego said he could not believe that his good friend businessman Archie King is gone.

Archie, a philanthropist and owner of the Victoria Court chain of motels died Sunday, July 5, along with pilot Captain Felisimo "Jun" Taborlupa in a helicopter crash in Batangas. (READ: Motel chain owner, pilot die in Batangas crash)

In an interview on ABS-CBN, Anton said that the group – which included Archie’s wife Lingling, and businessman Ricco Ocampo and wife designer Tina Maristela-Ocampo – decided to take fly back to Manila on Sunday, July 5 from Puerto Galera to avoid Tropical Storm Egay.

He recalled that the sun shone brightly that morning, and he even got a suntan. But while in air, they felt something was wrong. 

“As soon as we crashed, first thing I heard was Lingling calling for Archie’s name. We could hear the barangay people helping out. I was trying to pull out Archie, he was pinned in the helicopter. I brought Tina down,”  Anton said. 

"I said, ‘Archie, are you okay?’ He was nodding his head....I saw him in the [emergency room], he was still breathing when I last saw him. Then I had my X-ray; then he passed away.” 

As for Archie's wife, Anton said:  “Fantastic lady. She's, I’m sure, distraught, but she was amazing in crisis . She kept looking for her husband, wanting him to be rescued. She was very strong."

Anton said that he's thankful for his "second life."

"I'm thankful for this tragedy which is also a blessing, I'm thankful for my second life. God is good," Anton said. "I hope my other friends who survived will get well also.”

Anton is currently under treatment and is expected to be discharged from the hospital on Tuesday, July 7.

Meanwhile, Atticus King, one of Archie’s sons, said in a statement that he wants his father to be remembered for his kindness and the work he had done. 

“I want him to be remembered as a man with a huge heart who embraced and inspired everyone around him, who was an outlier who marched to his own drum but never failed to to make you welcome in his world; a world where compassion came first.”

On Facebook, Ian King paid tribute to his father.

“My father, my advisor, my supporter and my Hero. I feel broken and lost without you. I'm glad our relationship was at its best. Now I'll forever miss your love. I love you Dad. May you rest in peace. I wish we had one more last ride together,” he wrote.

Aside from from being the owner of Victoria Court, Archie was also active in various charity works, especially Gawad Kalinga.  The Kings were listed by Forbes magazine as among the Philanthropy Heroes of Asia in 2014. 

In 2013, Archie suffered from pneumonia while on a trip to Germany.  After recovering, Archie became involved in putting up a farm university with Gawad Kalinga.

Archie’s remains lie in state at the Santuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park, Makati. – Rappler.com