Iren Dornier Survives Crash

As Royal Air Force Comes to its aids 

26 November 2013

Southeast Asia Airlines (SEAIR) and SEAIR International owner Capt. Iren Dornier together with American pilot Capt. James Eagle survived a helicopter crash around 4 pm Sunday after their Bolkow 105 helicopter with registration number RP-C399  crash-landed near the shoreline of Purok 6, Barangay Binwangan, Obando, Bulacan after both its engine suddenly shut down.

The helicopter, operated by Aviation Enterprises based in Clark International Airport, was flying back to its home base in Pampanga from Caticlan in Aklan after bringing relief goods for victims of typhoon "Yolanda" when it encountered engine problems.

The two passengers managed to send distress signal and jumped off the helicopter right before it crashed to the sea.

"I was able to grab the radio. Luckily there was a great coincidence that there were so many aircraft flying relief goods. They were monitoring the frequency and they were able to throw us a raft," Eagle said.

Their savior happens to be the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom. The C-130 crew from RAF Brize Norton were on their approach to Manila Airport to collect more aid equipment at Villamor Airbase when they heard a Mayday distress call.

Their distress call was received by the RAF C-130 Hercules captain, Flight Lieutenant Jamie Knox, which immediately broke off his landing and went to search for the helicopter in distress.

"It was an instinctive response. When we heard that Mayday we knew we had to do something." says Flight Lieutenant Tom Arnold who is co-piloting the cargo plane.

Eagle were able to give the RAF Hercules their last known position over the radio, and the C-130 crew headed to that location to begin their search.

Almost as soon as the Hercules reached the crash site, an excited voice on the radio said ‘we can see you’, and the helicopter aircrew directed the search aircraft until the RAF crew spotted the life vests of the 2 helicopter crew members.

The two had been swimming towards the shore for about an hour and a half when the C-130 plane arrived.

The RAF Hercules took on scene command of the rescue efforts, marking the location and flying above the crash scene. 

Flight Lieutenant Arnold then requested further assistance from Manila air traffic control and the Philippine Coast Guard, whilst reassuring his fellow pilots.

Eventually, a United States Marine Corps (USMC) C-130 Hercules arrived on the scene to assist. 

US Marine Captain Caleb Eames of the Third Marine Expeditionary Force said their C-130 aircraft  proceeded to the area to help and throw a life raft out to the downed pilots to scramble into.

Flight Lieutenant Arnold could hear over the radio that the aircrew were okay. The RAF C-130 Hercules, call sign ‘PAGASA 47’, which means ‘there is still hope’ in Filipino, remained above the life raft until it spotted a fishing vessel heading towards the 2 survivors. 

The crew then handed over control to the USMC aircraft and continued to Manila on their humanitarian mission.

"Stuff like this doesn’t happen every day. It is fantastic that we were able to help our fellow pilots at the same time as helping the people of the Philippines." says Flight Lieutenant Knox.


  1. good thing well trained international airmen with the proper equipments are in the vicinity.

  2. The Bo105 must have had fuel starvation! Two engine conked out! No fuel! Further, how come CAAP certified this aircraft? This aircraft is ex German Army Bo 105P/PAH-1 and falls under EASA Annex II. There is no classification for Annex II aircraft in the Philippines. The same is true for his ALPHA Jet. Also for both aircraft there is no certification for an Annex II MRO. And CAAP thinks to get out of CAT II with illegal aircraft in the registry?

  3. Just a guess...this incident is just a PR stunt of Iren Dornier perhaps? just my 1 cent......

    1. I can't believe you think that? I had a family waiting for me Please!!! Captain J. E