UNVERIFIED REPORTS SAY FISHERMEN RESCUED DILG CHIEF
Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo remains missing after the private Cessna 172 light plane carrying him and three other companions from Mactan in Cebu crashed in the sea off Masbate.
A report from a Masbate radio station said Robredo was rescued by fishermen near the crash site and was brought to a Masbate hospital but it has not been officially verified at press time.
The aircraft bearing Robredo reportedly encountered mechanical trouble on their way to Naga City, resulting in the pilot deciding to ditch it in the waters off Masbate.
The aircraft, based on accounts, left Mactan airport at around 4:30 p.m. yesterday bound for Naga City but encountered engine trouble as soon as it took off that resulted in its propeller to stop, prompting the pilot to decide to land the plane at the nearest airport which was in Masbate but the plane fell short of the runway and fell about 300 meters off the shore.
Reports said that the plane broke into pieces as a result of the crash.
Robredo was supposed to take a scheduled airline flight out of Cebu but was in a hurry to reach Naga City thus the use of the private aircraft.
William Hotchkiss, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) chief, said that one person has been rescued from the crash site.
“We received reports the plane just took off from Mactan to Naga, then reported an emergency as it neared Masbate,” he said.
The rescued passenger was identified as Supt. Jun Abrazado, Robredo’s aide.
There was no report on the fate of the other passengers of the plane.
Abrazado despite his injuries accompanied rescuers into the crash area but the lack of searchlights made rescue operations difficult as night fell.
Lawyer Leni Robredo, wife of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) chief, recounted that Robredo was able to relay to her the trouble in the aircraft he is riding through a mobile phone call moments before the crash.
The six-seater Cessna crashed near the shore of Masbate island while trying to make an emergency landing after suffering an unspecified engine problem, regional military spokesman Colonel Generoso Bolina told reporters.
“Secretary Robredo was in a light aircraft en route to Naga from Cebu. There was an engine problem so they sought permission to make an emergency landing at Masbate, but the plane did not make it there and crashed,” Bolina said.
Robredo’s aide was rescued but the 54-year-old cabinet member and the two pilots remain missing, according to Bolina.
Transportation and Communications Secretary Manuel Roxas said President Aquino had been informed of the accident and was keeping track of the search. “Let us all pray for his safety,” Roxas said.
The rescuers temporarily called off the search about three hours later as night fell, said their leader Superintendent Gonzalo Villamor.
“There’s some undercurrent and by the time it got dark we had not managed to find the aircraft,” Villamor said.
“The aide-de-camp managed to remove his seatbelt and extricate himself just before impact, but he did not see the others,” Villamor said. The search would resume at first light, he added.
Hotchkiss said the CAAP alerted the local airport manager and the Philippine Coast Guard on the incident.
The aircraft was headed to Naga City where Robredo was supposed to attend a political meeting. The plane took from Mactan Airport in Cebu. For its part, the DILG confirmed that Robredo was on the plane.
“Pilot sent a distress call to Masbate Airport at about 5 p.m. requesting for an emergency landing,” it said on its Twitter account. “The plane did not make it to the airport and crashed 3 km from the airport in Masbate Bay,” the DILG said.
Citing initial information Hotchkiss said the plane that crashed was a company plane that took off from Mactan at 3 p.m.
“It crashed in the sea,” he said. Abrazado told Col. Julian Pacatan, chief of the 9th Infantry Division that Robredo, his boss, failed to get out of the aircraft.
Pacatan was one of the first to reach the crash site in Barangay Ibingay, Masbate City.
“Secretary Robredo was not able to get out the plane,” Pacatan quoted Abrazado as saying.
Robredo’s aide was rescued by passing fishermen in the area, a separate report from Philippine National Police spokesperson Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo, Jr., said. Abrazado now in the custody of Masbate police.
Cerbo said that search-and-rescue operations were still ongoing for Robredo and the plane’s two pilots.
Roxas said Robredo came from Cebu and was on his way to Naga when the incident occured in the afternoon.
Roxas said that the plane called for an emergency landing at the Masbate airport, but crashed 150 meters away.
Roxas said all effort are underway for the rescue efforts, even as things became difficult with darkness as night fell.
“Let us all pray for him, he is a very good man,” Roxas said.
UNVERIFIED REPORTS SAY FISHERMEN RESCUED DILG CHIEF
Latest from Tribune
Leave a comment
22-05-2013 Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Sixto Brillantes and his commissioners in the poll body...
ALGIERS — Official silence about the health of Algeria’...
22-05-2013 Herman Tiu Laurel
For 27 years the country’s three million or so coconut ...
KIEV — The sculpture shows two elderly people hugging e...
22-05-2013 Aldrin Cardona
First, Grace. Her victory in her first try at a Senate...
22-05-2013 Dinah S. Ventura
I was watching National Geographic’s new series on the ...
U.S. FBI ASKED TO ASSIST IN PROBE Taiwan termed yesterday …
President Aquino’s Senate coalition will hold even after the…
President Aquino has no plans to introduce amendments to the…
President Aquino yesterday announced a $1.8-billion military…
By Alvin Murcia President Aquino and Commission on Election…
President Aquino yesterday vouched for the integrity of the …
There is no assurance in the administration coalition secur…
The Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) yesterday d…
Not actual votes but projections were the basis of the Commi…
Eleven days since the shooting incident of a Taiwanese fish…