Search, rescue ops for missing Cessna to focus on Mayon Volcano area —mayor
The search and rescue operations for the missing Cessna plane will focus on the Mayon Volcano area, according to Camalig, Albay Mayor Carlos Irwin Baldo Jr. on Monday.
"Tuloy po ang search and rescue po natin habang hindi natin nakikita 'yung mga body ng sakay ng eroplano... Alam po natin 'yung wreckage ng eroplano malapit na po ito sa crater ng Mayon," Baldo said in an interview on Unang Balita.
(The search and rescue will continue since we have not yet seen the bodies of those aboard the plane. We know that the wreckage of the airplane is near the crater of Mayon.)
"Habang hindi nakikita 'yung body, nandu'n tayo sa search and rescue pa rin. Pero sana makuha na rin po natin 'yon. May mga ginagawa pa. (Kung) gumanda po ang panahon, may lilipad uli na chopper, kukuha ulit ng closer picture and video doon sa wreckage. Baka may makitang body sa area, doon natin i-concentrate ang pag-search and rescue natin," he added.
(We will do search and rescue until bodies are found. But we hope to find survivors. Efforts are ongoing. If the weather improves, a helicopter will fly to take closer pictures and videos at the wreckage site. There may be bodies seen in the area, and that is where our search and rescue operations will concentrate.)
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) on Saturday said Bicol International Airport air traffic controllers lost contact with a Cessna 340 airplane.
CAAP said the Cessna 340 (Caravan) aircraft with registry number RP-C2080 departed Bicol International Airport at 6:43 a.m.
Air traffic controllers last contacted the aircraft at 6:46 a.m., when the plane was abeam the Camalig Bypass Road at an altitude of 2,600 feet.
That plane was expected to arrive in Manila at 7:53 a.m. CAAP said the plane was carrying four people, including the pilot, crew, and two passengers.
On Sunday, Camalig, Albay's Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said that the Philippine Air Force was verifying whether a location near the Mayon Volcano crater was the crash site of the Cessna plane.
Baldo later confirmed on Sunday that the plane seen on Mayon Volcano was the Cessna that went missing on Saturday.
The mayor said Mayon Volcano itself and the weather are posing challenges to the search and rescue operations.
The volcano is currently under Alert Level 2 (Increased Unrest) according to the bulletin issued by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) on Monday.
Under Alert Level 2, entry into the six-kilometer radius permanent danger zone and flying any aircraft close to the volcano are not allowed, PHIVOLCS said.
Baldo said heavy rains were experienced in the area on the first day of the search and rescue operations, halting the activity.
"Hindi natin inaalis ang possibility na baka sumabay ang body ng mga sakay ng eroplano doon sa tubig na galing sa Mayon," he said.
(We are not discounting the possibility that the bodies of the plane's passengers may have been carried by the rain water from Mayon's slopes.)
Baldo said the Cessna plane had on board two Filipinos and two Australians and who were visitors of the Energy Development Corporation (EDC). The company had a facility near the Bacon and Manito area in Albay, he added.
"Siguro pabalik ng Manila. Hindi po natin alam kung bakit napunta doon sa may crater ng Mayon," the mayor said.
(They may have been heading back to Manila. We do not know why the plane flew near the crater of Mayon.)
He added that EDC is coordinating with the relatives of the plane's passengers. —KG, GMA Integrated News