Zamboanga City—Four people were killed on Wednesday when a Philippine Air Force helicopter crashed in Basilan during a rescue mission due to the bad weather in many parts of the country, an official said.
Information officer Al-Nasser Abdurakman said the incident occurred around 1 p.m. in Upper Manggas village in Lantawan, Basilan.
He was unable to name the fatalities, except to say two of them were male pilots and two were male crewmen.
He said the helicopter departed from the Edwin Andrew Air Base at 12:33 p.m. and was heading for Jolo to pick up a patient, who was to be taken to the Camp Navarro General Hospital, when it crashed.
He said the cause of the crash was yet to be determined, and that an investigation was underway.
“Troops of the 4th Special Forces Battalion are at the crash site,” Abdurakaman said.
Meanwhile, the weather bureau said Tropical Storm “Leon” was moving away from the Philippines but it is enhancing the southwest monsoon, bringing rain in most parts of the country.
In its 11 a.m. weather bulletin, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration said “Leon” was last tracked 330 kilometers west-northwest of Coron, Palawan, and had slightly accelerated, moving west-northwest at 15 kilometers per hour.
The storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 65 kph near the center and gustiness of up to 80 kph.
Weathermen said moderate to heavy rain will prevail over Aurora, Palawan (including Calamian, Cuyo and Kalayaan Islands), the Mindoro provinces and Western Visayas.
Light to moderate with at times heavy rain will be experienced over eastern Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, Metro Manila, Calabarzon, Bicol, Mindanao and the rest of Central Luzon, Mimaropa and the Visayas.
PAGASA weather specialist Chris Perez said Leon may reach the severe tropical storm category within 24 hours.
“It has a low chance to make landfall and is expected to exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Thursday,” he said.
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