Search continues for missing plane with 6 on board; Air Force plane crash kills 2 

A MILITARY officer discusses the search and rescue area, and operations plan for the missing Cessna 206 plane in Isabela province. — SCREEN GRAB FROM 5ID-PHILIPPINE ARMY

THE CIVIL Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said a Cessna single-engined general aviation aircraft went missing after departing Cauayan Airport in Isabela on Tuesday afternoon.  

RPC1174, a Cessna 206 type aircraft, took off from the Cauayan Airport at 02:15 p.m. on Jan. 24 and was expected to arrive at an airport in Maconacon, Isabela at 2:45 p.m., CAAP said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday.  

The agency noted that the aircraft had six persons on board, including the pilot. 

“Its last contact with the air traffic controller was at 02:19 p.m. when it was within the vicinity of Naguilian Bridge in Isabela,” it added. 

A communication search was initiated by the Cauayan Airport Tower at 3:15 p.m., according to the agency.  

“Due to lack of response from the aircraft, the Alert Level was elevated, and search and rescue operations commenced at around 4:00 p.m.,” it added.  

Alert Level was raised to “distress phase” at 4:12 p.m., which prompted a full-scale search operation.  

The search and rescue team led by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) includes members of the police, Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine Army, and the Isabela Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.   

The Philippine Army’s 5th Infantry Division, in a statement on its Facebook page, said the Philippine Air Force had to temporarily call off the aerial search due to bad weather conditions.  

Ground search operations, however, are continuing through joint teams of the police and military, the Army said.     

AIR FORCE PLANEIn a separate incident, state media Philippine News Agency reported on Wednesday that a PAF trainer/light attack turboprop aircraft “went down in Bataan as its two pilots were conducting recurrency training.”  

“We confirm that it is one of our Air Force aircraft, the SF-260TP aircraft (was) from Sangley (Cavite), it was on a ‘recurrency training’ and that there were two pilots involved. Unfortunately, we cannot give details more than that, the investigation is ongoing,” PAF Spokesperson Col. Ma. Consuelo N. Castillo was quoted as saying.  

According to PAF, the aircraft was reportedly seen to be descending to a field in Sitio Tabon, Barangay Del Rosario, Pilar, Bataan at around 10:40 a.m. 

“Two PAF pilots perished in the mishap while no civilian casualties were reported. Our aircraft accident investigation team is already at the site for a thorough investigation, while our SF-260TP fleet has been grounded,” it said in a separate statement. — Arjay L. Balinbin 

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