A policeman died while two others were injured after the helicopter they were riding in crashed Monday morning in Real, Quezon, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said.
The chopper that crashed in the mountains of Real had been on its way to pick up PNP Chief General Dionardo Carlos.
The pilot and co-pilot, Police Lieutenant Colonels Dexter Vitug and Michael Mallorca, were brought to Claro M. Recto Hospital in Infanta, Quezon, while crewman Police Patrolman Allen Noel Ona was identified as the lone fatality.
According to a report on 24 Oras, the PNP said the H-125 Airbus helicopter took off from the Manila Domestic Airport in Pasay City at 6:17 a.m. for Balesin, Quezon, where Carlos had been staying with his family.
The helicopter was later declared missing, and the crash site was located at 8:05 a.m. Rescue teams from the police, local government, and Bureau of Fire Protection reached the crash site in Barangay Pandan in Real and evacuated the crew.
The PNP said it received reports that indicate that the area in Real was experiencing rainy weather at the time of the crash.
The police has grounded its entire fleet of H125 Airbus Police helicopters as authorities continue to investigate the crash.
The two survivors were airlifted to the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
This is the second time in two years a PNP chopper has crashed. In 2020, a Bell 429 chopper carrying then-PNP Chief Archie Gamboa crashed in Laguna, injuring six people onboard and killing one cop.
The PNP said that the flight was considered an administrative mission flight.
“The Chief PNP was in Quezon for the weekend for some private time with his family,” PNP spokesperson Police Lieutenant Colonel Jean Fajardo said.
Fajardo said the commercial flight that was supposed to pick up Carlos and was slated to arrive in the afternoon became unavailable. The PNP air unit then said two of its helicopters were available for the police chief’s disposal, to which Carlos agreed.