Businessman Levy Laus, 2 others die in Bulacan chopper crash

Robie de Guzman   •   April 25, 2019   •   10749

MANILA, Philippines – A Pampanga-based businessman and two companions were killed when the helicopter they were riding crashed into a fishpond in Malolos, Bulacan Thursday afternoon, police said.

According to a report by Nestor Torres in UNTV News and Rescue’s Ito ang Balita program, the victims were identified as businessman Liberato “Levy” Laus, his bodyguard Wilfran Esteban, and pilot Captain Everette “Eder” Coronel.

Laus, who headed the conglomerate Laus Group of Companies, was declared dead on arrival at the Bulacan Medical Center. Esteban died in the hospital.

Laus, 68, was a well-known personality in Pampanga. He was also the chairman emeritus of the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said the chopper was bound for San Fernando, Pampanga when it plunged into a fishpond in Barangay Anilao in Malolos at 12:47 p.m.

CAAP said the helicopter took off from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) General Aviation Hangar at 12:28 p.m.

The chopper, which bears the body number RP C8098, was owned and operated by LGC Air Transport.

An eye witness told UNTV News and Rescue team that prior to the crash, the helicopter seemed to be looking for a landing site around 12:45 p.m. He also recounted the moments when the ill-fated chopper plunged to the ground.

“Dumiretso na sila bumulusok, pagtama nila dyan sa palaisdaan sumabog ng malakas,” Gerry Borlongan said.

“‘Yung pinto nila naghiwa-hiwalay kasama yung mga sakay na tumilapon sa lakas ng pagsabog,” he added.

Other eye witnesses said the aircraft was billowing black smoke before it crashed.

The chopper’s wreckage was later found half-submerged in the pond.

CAAP investigators are now probing the possible cause of the incident.

“Sa ngayon ang ang ginagawa namin nire-recover na namin itong mga pieces ng aircraft. Sa ngayon hindi pa namin alam eh [sanhi ng insidente] pero nakapag-interview na kami ng mga witness,” said CAAP investigator Harry Faradero. – Robie de Guzman

MGen. Magaway released from hospital months after helicopter crash

Marje Pelayo   •   May 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Former PNP Directorate for Intelligence Major General Mariel Magaway finally returned home after months of being confined at the Asian Hospital since he figured in a helicopter crash in March. 

This was confirmed by Deputy Chief for Administration Police Lt. Gen. Camilo Cascolan who was there when Magaway was discharged on Thursday (May 21).

Cascolan said Magaway is in good shape and his memory remains sharp though he needs to go through physical therapy to improve his mobility.

“Two weeks to one month therapy kayang-kaya na niya yun,” he said. 

“Inaalalayan lang siya syempre kasi ikaw ba naman na more than two months [sa ospital] tapos masakit likod mo, may mga bali pa sa buto pero ok siya, ” he added.

General Magaway was among the eight passengers of the ill-fated Bell 429 that crashed at the PNP impounding area in San Pedro, Laguna minutes after taking off. 

Other passengers in the flight were PNP Chief PGen. Archie Gamboa and his aide, PNP Spokesperson PBGen. Bernard Banac, two pilots and former Directorate for Comptrollership PMGen. Jovic Ramos who is still recovering in a hospital. MNP (with inputs from Lea Ylagan)

PNP chief Gamboa released from hospital a day after Laguna chopper crash

Robie de Guzman   •   March 6, 2020

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Archie Gamboa

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Archie Gamboa has been released from St. Luke’s Medical Center in Taguig on Friday afternoon, a day after he and seven others got injured in a helicopter crash in San Pedro, Laguna.

PNP acting spokesman Major General Benigno Durana confirmed this to media.

“Oo, discharged na siya,” he said.

Gamboa earlier said he would return to work on Monday after giving assurance that he is okay following the crash.

The PNP chief sustained minor injuries after the Bell 429 chopper they were riding in crashed in Laguna on Thursday morning.

Gamboa was with Directorate for Comptrollership Major General Jovic Ramos, Directorate for Intelligence Major General Mariel Magaway, and PNP Spokesperson Brigadier General Bernard Banac. Two pilots, Gamboa’s aide, and a technician were also on board the helicopter.

Banac and four others also sustained minor abrasions while Magaway and Ramos are still unconscious and are in unstable condition.

Magaway and Ramos are being treated in separate hospitals in Biñan, Laguna.

Durana said Banac has also requested to be discharged from hospital as he wasn’t seriously hurt in the incident.

“Banac intends to be released tomorrow, upon the approval of his doctor,” he said.

In a statement, Banac thanked all those who sent messages of support and prayers for his recovery.

“Yes, I was shaken, but not stirred. And by God’s grace I am well and recovering now and raring to report back to duty as soon as I am cleared by my doctors,” he said.

“Let us join hands and thoughts in fervent prayer for the other PNP officers who suffered more serious injuries. We pray for their healing and strength to overcome this trial,” he added.

Gamboa’s aide de camp, Police captain Keventh Gayramara, was also released Friday afternoon.

PNP chief Gamboa in stable condition after Laguna chopper crash

Robie de Guzman   •   March 5, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Archie Gamboa is in stable condition as he recuperates from minor injuries that he sustained from the helicopter crash in Laguna on Thursday morning.

The PNP Public Information Office (PIO) said Gamboa has been transferred to St. Luke’s Hospital in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig around 10:15 a.m. from West Lake Medical Center in San Pedro, Laguna where he was first taken after the incident.

Gamboa and other PNP officials were in Laguna to inspect a compound of impounded vehicles of the Highway Patrol Group. The chopper was supposed to ferry them to Camp Vicente Lim in neighboring Calamba town when the crash occurred around 8 a.m.

Gamboa was on the 2-year old Bell 429 chopper with Directorate for Comptrollership Major General Jovic Ramos, Directorate for Intelligence Major General Mariel Magaway, and PNP Spokesperson Brigadier General Bernard Banac. Two pilots, an aide, and a technician were also on board the helicopter.

Initial investigation showed that the chopper got entangled with power lines shortly after lift-off in San Pedro town.

The take-off site was sandy and the aircraft’s propellers fanned a thick dust which caused poor visibility. The chopper caught fire later on.

Gamboa, Banac and four others only sustained minor injuries, but Ramos and Magaway are in critical condition and are being treated in Unihealth Southwoods Hospital in Biñan, Laguna.

Banac and four others have also been brought to the St. Lukes Hospital in Taguig.

Meanwhile, former PNP chief and now Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa posted a photo of him and a smiling Gamboa while lying on his hospital bed.

“Please pray for the fast recovery of my mistahs: Gen. Gamboa, Gen. Ramos, Gen. Magaway; PNP-PIO Gen. Banac and the rest of the passengers and flight crew of the PNP helicopter that crashed at San Pedro, Laguna this morning,” dela Rosa said in his Facebook post. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

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