Divers go deeper in search and rescue

Technical divers and other volunteers join the search and rescue operations for Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo and pilots Jessup Bahinting and Kshitiz Chand

SEARCH ONGOING. Search and rescue teams scour the ocean off Masbate for Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo, whose plane crashed Saturday. Photo by Rupert Ambil

MANILA, Philippines – At least 5 technical divers and other volunteers will do a “deeper and more narrow” search for Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, and pilots Jessup Bahinting and Kshitiz Chand, off Masbate on Monday, August 20.

The divers plan to go deeper (250 to 300 feet) with the help of tri-mix gas for technical diving provided by a local scuba operator which heeded Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas’ call for help.

A member of the Naval Special Operations Group - Phil Navy Seals, part of the search and rescue mission for Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo and 2 pilots, August 20, 2012. Photo by Rupert Ambil.

The sea-and-air search is focused on Ticao Island and Masbate coast, Roxas said. “We hope to find him…that he was just led by strong currents,” he told reporters.

President Benigno Aquino III remains in Masbate, having spent the night there with Roxas, Robredo’s brother Butch and Cavite Rep Jun Abaya.

A US military aircraft equipped with a forward-looking infrared camera made fly-by passes over the search area, Roxas said in a tweet early Monday.

{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p>Sonars work last nyt to be plotted for todays search pattern. </p>&mdash; Mar Roxas (@MARoxas) <a href=”https://twitter.com/MARoxas/status/237311480968667136″ data-datetime=”2012-08-19T22:14:00+00:00″>August 19, 2012</a></blockquote>
<script src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>{/source}

{source}<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet”><p>US plane wid FLIR, forward looking infra red, also did flyby passes.</p>&mdash; Mar Roxas (@MARoxas) <a href=”https://twitter.com/MARoxas/status/237312628085637120″ data-datetime=”2012-08-19T22:18:34+00:00″>August 19, 2012</a></blockquote>
<script src=”//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js” charset=”utf-8″></script>{/source}

He also said data from the sonar will be plotted to be used for the search and rescue operations.

Diving and aerial search and rescue operations were suspended late Sunday, August 19, due to darkness, but the search on the surface of the waters off Masbate continued through the night.

After scouring the portion of the sea where Robredo’s ill-fated Piper Seneca plane crashed into Saturday, August 18, one of the divers managed to find the flight plan of the aircraft.

The retrieval of the flight plan will hopefully allow rescuers to track the position of the wrecked plane on the seabed.

So far, only police inspector Jun Abrasado, Robredo’s aide, has survived the crash.

The Transportation Secretary — who is coordinating the operation on the ground from Masbate — asked the nation to continue praying for the successful rescue of Robredo, who is now missing for over 36 hours. – Rappler.com

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