Wreckage found in Ifugao Forest with no survivors
Baguio – The ill fated RP 1946 Presidential Bell 412 helicopter that crashed Tuesday was found early morning Wednesday in a heavily forested area in Sitio Mangingihe in Barangay Eheb in Tinoc, Ifugao.
Senior Supt. Joseph Adnol, Ifugao police director, said the chopper was last seen flying over Mt. Pulag and believed to have been lost along the boundary of Nueva Vizcaya and Ifugao. The Bell 412 presidential helicopter left Loakan Airport in Baguio City at 4:20 p.m. and was expected to reach Banaue, Ifugao, in less than an hour.
Those on board were Undersecretary Marilou Frostrom of the Presidential Management Staff, Undersecretary Jose Capadocia Jr. of the Office of the Press Secretary, Assistant Director Perlita Bandayanon of the PMS’ office of regional concerns, Brigadier General Carlos Clet, Demy Reno from the Presidential Security Group (PSG) and the two pilots Major Ronaldo Sacatani and Captain Alvin Alegata.
Mayor Lopez Pugong of Tinoc town in Ifugao, said that all eight bodies have been recovered from the crash site and would be brought to the district hospital in Tinoc for identification. Rescuers arrived on the site around 2pm.
The President's road inspection and other engagements in Ifugao was eventually cancelled to make way for a thorough inspection of the surviving PAF helicopters. The two remaining aircraft at The Mansion House in Baguio City were inspected as standard operating procedures.
"The area is known for having good weather now and then turning bad all of a sudden," Col. Raul Dimatatac, PAF Assistant Chief of Air Staff for Operations, said in a press conference.
He said aerial searches which include 2 CH-46 Sea Knight of the US Air Force(USAF), were called off Wednesday afternoon after inclement weather prevented other five PAF Huey helicopters from dropping rescuers in the the area.
The Bell 412 presidential chopper is equipped with a global positioning system, navigational and weather instruments, an onboard radar, and an emergency locator transmitter, Lieutenant Colonel Ernesto Torres, Jr. said, adding that it is rated for day and night instrument flight rating.
The chopper was purchased brand new from Bell Helicopter Textron of Fort Worth, Texas, U.S., and was delivered in 1996. Its latest Certificate of Airworthiness (COA) was issued recently on February 10 and is set to expire on February 10, 2010.