MANILA, Philippines – An SF-260TP plane belonging to the Philippine Air Force (PAF) crashed in Pilar, Bataan, on Wednesday morning, January 25, the military said.
PAF spokesperson Colonel Maria Consuelo Castillo said two pilots flying the plane for “recurrency training” died in the mishap.
A local police report earlier identified the two pilots as Captain Ian Gerru Paulo and John Paulo Aviso.
According to the military, the SF-260 aircraft took off from Major Danilo Atienza Air Base in Sangley Point, Cavite, at around 10 am for a training flight when at 10:40 am, witnesses reported seeing the plane “descending to a field in Sitio Tabon, Barangay Del Rosario” where it eventually crashed.
“Two PAF Pilots perished in the mishap while no civilian casualties were reported,” Castillo said.
Personnel from the PAF’s aircraft accident investigation team were onsite to investigate the incident.
Castillo also said that all active SF-260TP aircraft will be grounded as a standard procedure pending the investigation.
The Bataan crash is the third involving a Marchetti aircraft.
In 2002, three Air Force pilots and a civilian were killed when an SF-260 plane crashed into the roof of a factory in Batangas. A similar incident took place in 2015, when two pilots were killed after an SF-260FH went down during a training mission near Nasugbu, Batangas.
The PAF earlier said the military lost track of the aircraft at 10:34 am or roughly 30 minutes into the flight.
An initial report from local police in Pilar town said the cops received a call at around 10:40 am from residents in Sitio Tabon, Barangay Del Rosario, who witnessed “a plane fast descending downward to a field.”
During an inspection of the area, Pilar police found an Air Force plane marked with the number 29 “crashed in the middle of the field with two pilots, both servicemen of the Philippine Air Force still inside the cockpit.”
The PAF identified the SF-260TP as an attack aircraft asset in the PAF’s15th Strike Wing. The plane is also capable of conducting “close air support, battlefield air interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, persuasion flight, armed escort, maritime patrol, air cover, flare drop, forward air controller, and aerial demonstration.”
“The SF260-TP is a highly maneuverable and fully aerobatic basic trainer aircraft of the PAF that serves as a light attack combat aircraft. It was used during the Marawi siege and various combat missions of the PAF,” Castillo said.
The crash in Bataan is the latest in a series of military aircraft accidents that have taken place in recent years. Since 2011, there have been at least 16 accidents involving military aircraft, based on published reports. – Rappler.com