Two Philippine Air Force aviators were killed in a crash Wednesday, while rescuers were searching for another plane that went missing the previous day with 6 people on board, authorities said.
During a training exercise, the military’s SF260 Marchetti plane plummeted onto a rice paddy in Pilar town near Manila, killing the pilot and another aviator, Bataan province’s police chief Col. Romell Velasco said.
“It’s a total wreck. The wings were separated,” Velasco said after visiting the crash site.
“No one could survive this,” he said, adding that the bodies have been recovered.
An investigation to determine the cause of the crash is under way, PAF spokesperson Col. Consuelo Castillo told reporters.
Witnesses said they saw the plane descend fast and rash into a rice field at about 10:42 a.m.
Castillo said the ill-fated aircraft was assigned to the 15th Strike Wing, which is based at the Danilo Atienza Air Base in Sangley Point, Cavite.
In line with standard operating procedure, all SF-260TP aircraft in PAF service are grounded while the investigation into the crash is ongoing.
The SF260TP 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.
In June 2021, the military temporarily grounded its entire Black Hawk fleet after an S-70i helicopter crashed during a night-time training, killing all six on board.
In a separate incident in the country’s mountainous north, a Cessna 206 plane carrying a pilot and five passengers failed to arrive at Maconacon Airport in Isabela Province Tuesday, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said.
The missing plane had taken off from Cauayan airport on a route that would have taken it across the Sierra Madre mountain range, said Eric Apolonio, spokesperson for the industry regulator.
Air traffic controllers initiated a “communication search” after the plane did not respond half an hour after it was supposed to land, he said in a statement.
The search and rescue operation was temporarily halted by poor weather on Wednesday, he added. With AFP
The plane left Cauayan Airport at 2:15 p.m. and its last contact with the air traffic controller was at 2:19 p.m. when it was in the vicinity of Naguilian Bridge.
The Philippine Air Force (PAF) on Wednesday placed two of its helicopters on standby to help in the search for the Cessna 206 aircraft that went missing while flying over Isabela province on Tuesday.
Castillo, in a message to reporters, said they have been tapped by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in Region 2 to help in the search.
Castillo also said they are coordinating with OCD Region 2 and the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council which is heading the search-and-rescue operations.