FAST FACTS: Officials involved in crashes
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Traveling by air is more convenient for government officials who have to go around the archipelago. It's faster, saves more time, and allows them to reach more people and places. It also puts their lives in danger.
Such is the case of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, who wanted to spend the long weekend with his family in Naga City, where he was mayor for 6 terms since 1988.
Unfortunately, the plane carrying him and 3 others crashed on its way to the Masbate airport at 4:30 pm on Saturday, August 18. They were on board a 6-seater, twin-engine Piper PA-34 Seneca light aircraft.
Search and rescue operations for Robredo and the two pilots are currently underway, as Robredo's aide, P/Supt Jun Abrasado survived the crash. Rescue operations started Saturday, carrying over to the evening, but darkness and depth of seawaters where the plane crashed proved to be too much for divers. By Sunday morning, parts of the plane were recovered.
The light aircraft took off from Cebu and was bound for Naga. Robredo was originally supposed to fly back to Manila from Cebu before traveling to Naga. But he decided to fly direct to Naga instead on board the Piper Seneca.
Rappler lists other government officials who were involved in previous aerial accidents:
- On March 17, 1957, the Douglas C-47 plane Mt. Pinatubo crashed on the slopes of Mt Manunggal in Cebu. The crash killed the 7th president of the Republic, Ramon Magsaysay, senator Tomas Cabili, education secretary Gregorio Hernandez, Cebu representative Pedro Lopez, and other government and military officials and journalists. The team had some engagements in Cebu, and was already about to return to Manila. Philippine Herald reporter Nestor Mata was the sole survivor. In a Senate investigation, mechanical failure was pinpointed as the cause of the crash.
- On December 15, 1993, a plane carrying president Fidel Ramos, defense secretary Renato de Villa, and interior secretary Rafael Alunan had an emergency landing in Cebu after it lost cabin pressure. The plane took off from the Villamor Airbase and was bound to Sultan Kudarat. The team transferred to another plane when they landed in Cebu.
- On July 1, 2000, the plane carrying public works secretary Gregorio Vigilar, agrarian reform secretary Horacio Morales, National Anti-Poverty Commission vice chairman Donna Gasgonia, National Electrification Administrator Conrado Estrella III and press undersecretary Icasiano Gutierrez suffered leak in cabin pressure. The team were on their way back to Manila after accompanying president Joseph Estrada in Davao when they were met by bad weather condition above Marinduque.
- On July 2, 2000, Palawan governor Salvador Socrates, Armed Forces Western Command Chief major general Santiago Madrid, and 13 others were reported missing when their Nomad propeller plane crashed into the waters of Cagayancillo, Palawan. The team has just finished a joint military civilian medical mission in the province prior to the accident. A foreigner, Bruce Walker, survived and was rescued by fishermen. Reports said that the plane had engine trouble after taking off before exploding in midair.
- On April 28, 2005, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) director and Philippine National Red Cross Board of Governors member Raymundo Punungbayan and 8 companions died when their vintage Air Force chopper crashed on a mountain in Gabaldon, Nueva Ecija. The team took off from the Villamor Air Base and was about to visit Dingalan, Aurora to conduct an ocular inspection after it was hit by deadly landslides. The incident initiated calls to check and improve the safety of military aircraft.
- On May 17, 2010, Quezon governor Rafael Nantes and 3 companions died in a helicopter crash in a residential area in Lucena City. Nantes was on his way to Manila from Quezon to meet election lawyer Romulo Macalintal. Two residents of two houses hit by the helicopter when it crashed also died. The crash was reportedly caused by mechanical failure. - Rappler.com
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