MASBATE CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – President Aquino on Sunday, August 19, met with P/Supt. Jun Abrasado, Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo’s aide-de-camp, who recounted to him what happened during the final moments inside the ill-fated Piper Seneca.
Abrasado is so far the only person rescued from the plane crash off Masbate City Saturday, August 18.
Aquino talked to Abrasado, who is still at the Masbate Doctors Hospital, shortly after a meeting with officials at the search & rescue command post.
The President arrived in Masbate City early morning Sunday to personally oversee the search & rescue operations for Robredo, pilot Jessup Bahinting, and Bahinting’s student Kshitiz Chand, who are still missing following the crash of their plane while trying to land at the Masbate airport.
Transport Secretary Mar Roxas, who is the point person for the search and rescue operations, said Abrasado is “conscious,” with a few injuries.
The survivor is under neurological observation, according to doctors, because he lost consciousness on Saturday due to the crash.
Photos of Robredo’s aide showed him wearing slings on both arms as he met the President.
Roxas later told media what Abrasado recalled from the incident, which the aide told to the President.
The plane encountered a problem on its right engine around 30 minutes after taking off from the Mactan International Airport in Cebu on Saturday afternoon.
At first, Abrasado said the pilot, Jessup Bahinting, first wanted to go back to Cebu, but decided to land at Masbate instead.
It continued to lose altitude as it approached the city’s Moises R Espinosa Airport, and the pilots struggled to land the plane. It then crashed a few hundred meters short of the runway, according to Abrasado.
Abrasado then told Roxas and Aquino that he embraced Robredo as the plane fell from the sky, but he became unconscious when the plane crashed on the water.
He regained consciousness just as water began filling in the cabin, and he unfastened his seatbelt, Roxas told radio dzBB in a later interview. He said he then tried loosen Robredo’s seatbelt, but he decided to go out through the aircraft door when the water rose inside the fuselage.
Roxas said Abrasado and Robredo were able to communicate right before the crash – Abrasado to Cebu, Robredo to his wife in Naga City.
Abrasado will still be under observation in Masbate, the transport chief said, until he is fit to travel to Manila where he will undergo additional checkups.
Abrasado was rescued from the sea after the crash. After he was rescued, Abrasado joined the team to look for Robredo and the pilots. But he was later convinced to go ashore.
Roxas said a team of around 30 divers are searching for the 3 missing persons. He said the search operations are being done by quadrant, and they are taking into consideration other factors such as the water current.
He added assistance by the US government is already coming in from Okinawa, Japan. – Rappler.com
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