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Poor weather stalls Cessna recovery work

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Authorities in Isabela province were still braving poor weather and terrain conditions to transport the bodies of the six victims aboard the Cessna 206 plane that crashed in the province last January.

In a statement on Sunday, the Isabela Incident Management Team (IMT) said the retrieval team had “not reached the point where the second team is waiting to take over.”

Plane and remains. Photos from the Isabela Incident Management Team show the remains, in body bags, of the pilot and five passengers of the Cessna plane that went missing for nearly two months arriving in Divilacan town on Sunday afternoon. IIMT/Coast Guard/Army photo

The remains of the passengers are expected to arrive in Cauayan on Monday,the Isabela Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said.

As of 7:30 a.m. Sunday, the retrieval team has not yet reached the location where the second team is waiting to take over, Isabela PDRRMO head Constante Foronda Jr. said.

The team that recovered the victims’ bodies was still in the mountainous and forested area of the town of Divilacan near Barangay Ditarum, where the crash site was located.

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Disaster authorities in Divilacan said they were confident the victims’ remains would reach the town’s proper on Sunday.

Super Radyo dzBB reported late Sunday afternoon that the remains of the pilot and passengers finally arrived in Divilacan.

The remains would be flown by an Air Force air asset to Cauayan City once the weather cleared.

“However, the weather forecast is not good for choppers after 12 p.m.,” said IMT head Foronda Jr.

Sunday marked the fourth day since the crash site of the downed Cessna plane was found, almost two months since it went missing. No survivors were found.

“Difficult terrain and the area’s thick jungle are contributing to the difficulty of retrieving the bodies which may take days,” the Philippine Army earlier said in a statement.

Search teams discovered the aircraft’s wreckage within the 20-kilometer radius of the Maconacon airport, the plane’s supposed destination when it went missing on Jan. 24.

The plane had taken off from Cauayan airport on a route that would have taken it across the Sierra Madre mountain range, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) earlier said.

The Cessna C206 plane with tail number RPC 1174 with six onboard was reported missing on January 24 after taking off from the Cauayan Airport heading for Maconacon town.

Once all the bodies are transported to Cauayan, Foronda said CAAP personnel will investigate the site of the crash.

“The retrieval team did not bring with them wreckage from the plane. The CAAP asked them not to move the parts,” he said in a Super Radyo dzBB interview.

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