Rescuers search for 2 pilots in Bataan crash
MANILA, Philippines – Rescuers continue to search for two pilots of an SF-260 trainer plane that crashed in Mariveles, Bataan, Philippibe Air Force spokesperson Lt Col Miguel Okol said in a television interview Saturday, May 19.
The aircraft plunged into the uninhabited island of La Monja, by Manila Bay, after taking off from a nearby air force base. The cause of the crash was unknown.
Okol described the missing persons as trained pilots who “have been around for quite a while.”
“We have gotten in touch with their next of kin and we are taking care of them,” Okol said in an interview on ANC.
Rescuers retrieved a fuel tank, helmet and plane seat from the water but the two officers on board, a major and a lieutenant, remained missing, said provincial police spokesman Inspector Dennis Orbista.
The plane that crashed, a light attack aircraft, departed the Danilo Atienza Air Base in Sangley Point, Cavite at approximately 6:52 am on Friday, according to an earlier ABS-CBN report. Rescuers began to search for the plane after it failed to return to the airbase after two hours, the report said.
The light propeller aircraft is one of a fleet of 18 purchased by the Philippines from Italy's Alenia Aermacchi in 1991 as part of the military's modernization program.
The PAF has grounded its SF.260 planes while authorities investigate the Bataan crash. -With reports from Agence France-Presse/ Rappler.com