Cessna 340A rescuers receive commendation from LGU Camalig

LEGAZPI CITY — Some 900 individuals who took part during the search, rescue and retrieval  (SAR) operations of the Cessna plane crash were given commendation today, March 6 by the local government of Camalig, Albay.

In a resolution passed by the Sangguniang Bayan of Camalig, volunteers and personnel from various agencies received the commendation during a program held this morning.

The search, rescue and retrieval operations lasted thirteen (13) days from February 18 to March 2, due to the difficult terrain and inclement weather.

The first to have arrived at the crash site were also given special recognition. Called the “Magnificent 5”, the five residents of Barangay Anoling, Camalig were the first to see the bodies of the pilot, co-pilot and the two Australian nationals.

Gerry Nodalo, one of the Magnificent Five admits their first climb was extremely dangerous. They had no provisions when they went up to the crash site which was 350 to 400 meters away from the crater of Mount Mayon. 

“Nagpursige kami na makatabang, kasi [kaming] mga taga-Anoling, aram mi su agi kan pasiring duman sa may bulkan,” Nodalo said in an interview with Bicol.PH.

Also recognized were the courage and expertise exemplified by the local mountaineers and their dedication from day one until the remains were finally retrieved from the crash site.

“Sobrang masaya na narecognize at napansin [din] ang tulong na binigay namin, pero sa totoo lang po volunteer lang po kami, humanitarian po ang mountaineering. Ever since po tumutulong po kami sa rescue operations sa bundok,” Edcel Cantillana, one of the mountaineers said.

Meanwhile, Fire Officer 2 (FO2) Maria Salve Buiza-Dacuya received a special recognition during the awarding ceremony as being the only woman from Bureau of Fire Special Rescue Force to join the SAR. 

“Hindi ko kasi nakikita na babae ako, para sa’kin masaya ako kasi parte ako doon (rescue operation), kapag kasama ko ‘yung mga kasama ko feel ko malakas ako, dahil sa team ko,” Dacuya said.

“Sa lahat ng mga kababaihan dyan, itayo natin ang bandera nating mga kababaihan, kasi kung ano ang kaya ng mga lalaki kaya din po natin,” she also added as a reminder to other women.

Energy Development Corporation (EDC) also expressed its sincere gratitude to everyone who helped and participated in the 13 grueling days of the operation. | Aaron John Baluis

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