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Malaysia, US help Ph search for missing medevac plane in Palawan

The governments of Malaysia and the US are now helping the Philippines in its search and rescue (SAR) operations for the missing medical evacuation helicopter in Palawan, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said Monday.

The CAAP-Philippine Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Center (PARCC) said it coordinated with the Palawan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) and the Philippine Adventist Medical Aviation Services (PAMAS) as regards to two Cessna 182 planes with flight numbers N5256N and N81708 doing an aerial search over Kota Kinabalu and the US Department of Defense CL60 aircraft with registry N7700 and callsign MAUI101.

On March 1, the agency reported that a helicopter with registry number N45VX operated by PAMAS went missing while en route to the Southern Palawan Provincial Hospital.

On board were the pilot, a nurse, a patient, and two companions.

Floating debris that looked like a gas tank reportedly has “R404A” and "pentafluoroethane” markings on it was earlier found by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) off Lumbucan Island, but CAAP has yet to confirm if the remnants were from the medevac chopper.

Meanwhile, the CAAP-PARCC said it coordinated with the PCG and the Philippine Navy to inform them if their vessels will conduct SAR operations over the Malaysian territory on Tuesday.

“Kota Kinabalu ARCC also informed the PARCC that their Coast Guard vessel conducted SAR operations south of Pulau Banggi, Sabah Malaysia around 4:00 PM today,” the agency said.

“They also advised that the Malaysian Police Airwing Department and Malaysian Air Force will conduct SAR operations tomorrow at the boundary of Pulau Banggi and Balabac,” it added.

For its part, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) deployed another “Sokol” rescue helicopter with registered flight Angel 942 to transport the communications team of Task Force iCare from Puerto Princesa City to the PAMAS headquarters.

It likewise performed a coastal search but there has been no sighting of the missing chopper. —VAL, GMA Integrated News