Philippine Air Force

7 dead in Philippine Air Force chopper crash in Bukidnon

Jodesz Gavilan
7 dead in Philippine Air Force chopper crash in Bukidnon
(3rd UPDATE) Authorities say the helicopter was on its way to deliver supplies to troops stationed in the mountains near Impasugong, Bukidnon

A Philippine Air Force helicopter crashed Saturday afternoon, January 16, in the mountains of Bukidnon province, killing all 7 on board – 5 military personnel and 2 members of the local militia.

According to a police spot report, the PAF helicopter, a Huey UH-1H with tail number 517, crashed in Sitio Nahigit, Barangay Bulonay in Impasugong town, Bukidnon around 2:22 pm.

The helicopter reportedly went “in nose dive position before hitting the ground.”

“All passengers on the chopper died,” said Philippine Army 4th Infantry Division public affairs chief Major Rodolfo Cordero.

The Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion (IB), 4th ID secured the crash site.

The fatalities from the Air Force were: Lieutenant Colonel Arnie Arroyo, pilot in command; 2nd Lieutenant Mark Anthony Caabay, co-pilot; Staff Sergeant Mervin Bersabi, gunner/crew chief; Airman 1st Class Stephen Agarrado, gunner. The report said they were from the PAF Tactical Operations Group 10, based in Cagayan de Oro City.

The fatality from the Army was Sergeant Julius Salvador. The members of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) killed were Cafgu Active Auxiliary Jerry Ayukdo and Jhamel G Sugalang.

The remains of the victims were brought to St. Peter Memorial Chapel in Malaybalay, Bukidnon Sunday morning, January 17.

Cordero said the PAF Huey was on a supply run to a Forward Operations Base (FOB) of the 8th IB in the mountains near Impasugong town.

Senior Master Sergeant Teddy Jones Saliot of the Impasugong municipal police station told Rappler that the crash site was “geographically isolated area and 6 hours away from the town proper. “

To get to the crash site, Saliot said, “you go through a muddy road in Calabugao plains which borders Bukidnon and Agusan del Sur. The area is also thick forest and ambush prone area.” – Rappler.com

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Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and also hosts the weekly podcast Newsbreak: Beyond the Stories. She joined Rappler in 2014 after obtaining her journalism degree from the University of the Philippines.