At least 4 dead as Air Force chopper crashes in Basilan

At least 4 people were killed when a Philippine Air Force (PAF) helicopter crashed in Lantawan town in Basilan on Wednesday, September 16.

Bangsamoro police chief Brigadier General Manuel Abu confirmed in a text message to Rappler that the crash involved a PAF helicopter.

Abu said in an earlier phone interview with Rappler that police counted 4 cadavers at the crash site.

A separate police report from Maluso town police police obtained by Rappler said that 3 of the fatalities were identified as a female pilot, a male co-pilot, and a male flight crew member. Their identities have yet to be determined as of posting time.

CRASH SITE. What is left of the Philippine Air Force helicopter after if crashed in Lantawan, Basilan, on September 16, 2020. Sourced Photo

Sourced Photo

The crash happened at around 2:30 pm. Abu said the "initial assessment" of the police is that the crash might have been due to "bad weather" but this was still subject to further investigation.

"The rains are strong now, but we are not concluding that it was because of the weather that it crashed," Abu said.

A Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) team and other investigators were at the crash site, he added.

This is the second PAF helicopter crash in 2020, following the Isabela chopper crash in July that left 4 soldiers dead and injured another.

In March, the helicopter of former police chief General Archie Gamboa crashed in Laguna. It injured at least 7 mostly high-ranking police officials and left 2 in critical condition. – With reports from Richard Falcatan/

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.