aviation accidents

Wreckage of missing Cessna plane in Isabela found with no survivors

Joann Manabat

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Wreckage of missing Cessna plane in Isabela found with no survivors
An official says it may take three days for authorities to retrieve the bodies

PAMPANGA, Philippines – There were no survivors from the missing Cessna 206 aircraft that went missing on January 24 in the Sierra Mountain range as local authorities found the wreckage on Thursday, March 9.

This was confirmed by Constante Foronda, chief of the Incident Management Team, in an online press briefing. He said the Maconacon Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management (MDRRM) Office positively identified the aircraft over the mountains at Barangay Ditarun in Divilacan town at around 11 am. 

“The Maconacon MDRRM office found the wreckage of the missing Cessna. Sadly, there are no survivors. We relayed this until all the relatives and the pilot have been informed.”

Aboard the missing Cessna 206 were pilot captain Eleazar Mark Joven and passengers Josefa Perla Espana, 59; Val Kamatoy, 34; Mark Eiron Siguerra, 21; Rom Joshtle Manaday, 16; and Xam Siguerra 10.

Foronda said the retrieval of the bodies may take three days due to the weather and the terrain.

“As soon as possible, ibababa ang mga labi ng mga pasahero. Kumuha na kami ng clearance mula sa crime lab saka SOCO. Pero ‘yung wreckage, kailangan munang i-secure (they will bring down the remains of the passengers. We have secured a clearance from the crime lab and SOCO. But the wreckage, we have yet to secure it) pending investigation conducted by the CAAP. I am told they are going. Hopefully, they can reach the area and determine the cause of the crash,” Foronda said.

Pinapa-converge namin lahat ng mga searchers na malapit sa lugar para tumulong sa retrieval. Pagbaba ng mga labi ng mga pasahero at piloto, mag-uumpisa na ‘yung mobilization process. Karamihan sa kanila ay magbabangka. Hindi kayang ilipad lahat ‘yung nandoon,” said Foronda.

(We are letting all searchers near the area converge to help in the retrieval process. Once the remains of the passengers and pilot are brought down, we’ll begin the mobilization process. Most of them will be coming by boat. We can’t manage to fly all of them in.)

Foronda also said that the search area is within a 20-kilometer radius of the Maconacon cell site, which has been consistent with their theory.

Ezekiel Chavez, Divicalan MDRRM officer, said there were two previous attempts to search the area. However, they were unsuccessful because of the strong flow of water in the river.

Kasi kung nakikita sa mapa, isa ‘yan na target natin. Ang problema, ‘yung tubig mataas. Actually, tinarget na ‘yan ng same group, hindi lang kayang tawirin, bumalik sila. Dalawa ang team na bumalik diyan at hindi nila napuntahan. Salamat at kanina bumaba na ‘yung ilog,” said Chavez.

(As you can see on the map, it’s really one of our targets. The problem, though, was that the water was high. Actually, the same group already targeted it before, but they couldn’t cross, so they went back. Two teams already went there, but they had to return. Thankfully, the water level of the river went down.)

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) had reported that the aircraft with tail number RP-C1174 took off around 2:16 pm at the Cauayan City domestic airport in Isabela, bound for the coastal town of Maconacon. The plane went missing as soon as “negative arrival” was reported when it was supposed to arrive at Maconacon at 2:45 pm.

CAAP area manager Mary Sagorsor told Rappler in an interview on January 25 that the last contact with the aircraft was at 2:19 pm, when the pilot reported that the plane was already over the Naguilian Bridge.

The search and rescue team comprised around 500 representatives from the Isabela Provincial Risk Reduction and Management, Divilacan and Maconacon MDRRM offices, Maconacon and Divilacan police and fire stations, 95th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, special action forces from Cordillera, Bicutan, and Isabela, as well as AK-9 Man Dog Sniffers with six search dogs and 11 handlers, Dumagat volunteers, and individual volunteers. – Rappler.com

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