Fate of passengers of the missing plane in Albay still unknown

An aerial search has located a plane wreckage some 350 meters from the crater of Mayon Volcano in Albay.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines however says it can’t confirm for certain if this is the missing cessna plane that took off from the Bicol International Airport in Daraga, Albay Saturday morning, February 18. The fate of the passengers is still unknown.

CAAP spokesperson Eric Apolonio says, “We cannot confirm kung yun nga ang said aircraft, kailangan kasi yung mga investigators on the ground, makita yung crash site mismo.”

The plane was carrying four people, a pilot and co-pilot and two Australian nationals who work for the Energy Development Corporation.

CAAP says it’s puzzled by the location of the wreckage. Reports say the pilot was able to communicate three minutes after take off from the BIA confirming that they were flying over Palanog village in Camalig, Albay, but this is about nine kilometers northwest of the crash site.

Apolonip adds, “No fly zone po yan kaya isa yan sa dinidetermine natin kung bakit napunta yun kung sakaling yun ang aircraft nga, bakit napunta diyan ,bakit kasi unang-una bago sila nabigyan ng permit may note na bawal na bawal sa area kasi no fly zone yan”.

CAAP says small planes like a cessna has an emergency locator trasmitter or ELT which is connected to them and the Hongkong mission control.

“Ang purpose po nyan na emergency locator transmitter is kapag po nag-impact ang nasabing aircraft mag-activate kaagad at malalaman natin kun nasaang site, unfortunately po nung tini-trace natin yan wala hong ganoong nangyaring nawala po ang eroplano 3 minutes after na mag- take-off,” Apolonio adds

Twenty five mountaineers were ready to climb to the crash site but did not proceed due to safety concerns.

According to Camalig Mayor Carlos Baldo Jr., the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology did not guarantee the safety of the mountaineers as the crash site is within the permanent danger zone and Mayon Volcano is under alert level two.

This prompted the LGU of Camalig to call off the climb today, the third day of the search and rescue efforts.

“Before kami nagstart, may taga CAAP na once na mapin-point na yung bumagsak ng eroplano sila na ang sasalo doon sa investigation, kasi sila naman ang may alam talaga, pero sa ngayon, walang gustong tumanggap doon sa responsibilidad. Kami, nandito pa rin para tumulong hanggang makuha yung mga sakay ng eroplano, buhay man yan o wala nang buhay, nandiyan kami”, Mayor Baldo said.

The EDC is still hopeful they will find the passengers alive, “We are still hopeful that we can bring back our colleagues and we are super thankful with the help that we are getting from our friends from lgu, various government agencies tapping even the local ang the national agencies”, says Eduardo Jimenez of EDC BacMan Corporate Relations Department.

Meanwhile, the Australian Ambassador to the Philippines HK Yu has expressed sympathies to the family and friends of their two missing nationals. the envoy says they are in contact with local authorities while providing consular assistance to the families of the two Australians. Yu also lauded the tireless efforts of local authorities.