October 2, 2023

Government res-ponders recovered on Aug. 3 the missing aircraft that crashed in Apayao on Aug. 1.

FATAL — Government personnel and civilian volunteers reached the site where a private Cessna plane crashed in the boundary of Luna and Pudtol towns in Apayao on Aug. 3. The bodies of  Capt. Edzel John Lumbao Tabuzo of San Juan City and student pilot Anshum Rajkumar Konde, an Indian national were recovered from the site. — Apayao PNP photo

The provincial government of Apayao confirmed the bodies of Capt. Edzel John Lumbao Tabuzo, the pilot and Anshum Rajkumar Konde, an Indian national and student pilot, were recovered from the crash site at the vicinity of Sitio Matad, Barangay Salvacion  in Luna in the afternoon of Aug. 3.

The body of Tabuzo was turned over to his family while the body of Konde will be turned over to the Indian Embassy.

Gov. Elias Bulut, Jr. and Apayao extended their condolences to the families of the victims.

The exact location of the crash site in the boundary of Salvacion in Luna and San Jose in Pudtol was located through the use of a drone operated by the Apayao Public Information Office team that was deployed along with the other uniformed personnel earlier.

A search, rescue, and recovery team composed of personnel from the Philippine Army, Philippine National Police, and Bureau of Fire Protection proceeded to the area and reco-vered the bodies from the wreckage of the Echo Air Cessna 152.

Apayao Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Jeoffrey Borromeo said that four SRR teams were dispatched to locate the missing plane which was earlier reported to have possibly crashed in Apayao.

The PDRRMO through Borromeo with Provincial Health Officer Mark Calban and Lt/Col. Oliver Panabang from the Apayao Police Provincial Office Operations and Management Unit conducted operational briefing to the SRR teams.

A team conducted aerial inspection through a Philippine Air Force Black Hawk helicopter carrying medical and rescue teams on Aug. 2 to the initially reported crash site in the boundary of Luna and Pudtol.

The SRR operation was later aborted due to inclement weather.

The aircraft was reported missing after departing from the Laoag International Airport past noon to Tuguegarao. But it failed to arrive at the Tuguegarao Airport. Its last signal transmission from the aircraft was received 35 nautical miles northwest of Alcala, Cagayan.

The Echo Air Cessna 152 was a U.S. two-seater, fixed-tricycle-gear general aviation plane used for flight training and personal use.

The crash was the third recent incident involving a Cessna plane in the country this year.

A Cessna plane crashed near Mayon Volcano’s crater in Albay with all its four passengers confirmed dead after a day of search last  February. Another Cessna plane was located 44 days after it went missing in the Sierra Madre forests of Barangay Ditarum in Divilacan in March with all its six passengers dead.

Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said operations of the aircraft’s operator, Echo Air, have been suspended.

CAAP said investigators from the Aircraft Accident Investigation and Inquiry Board have been dispatched and will join the investigation on the cause of the crash incident. – Redjie Melvic Cawis