No survivors found after PAF’s new Black Hawk helicopter crashes in Tarlac

Marje Pelayo   •   June 24, 2021   •   1206


MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Air Force (PAF) on Thursday (June 24) reported that no survivors have been found in the mishap involving the military’s newly acquired S-70i Black Hawk utility helicopter.

“So far, no survivors have been found. The identities of the aircrew members will be provided as soon as the members of their families are properly notified. We grieve for the loss,” PAF said in a statement after the helicopter encountered a mishap during a night flight training near Capas, Tarlac.

Search and retrieval operations are ongoing. The search was prompted when the aircraft was reported late from the estimated time of return to its station at Clark Air Base, Pampanga.

Following the incident, all other newly acquired Black Hawk helicopters will not be flown while investigation is ongoing.

The fleet of 16 Polish-made Sikorsky S-70i Black Hawk helicopters were acquired by the government in March 2019 for P12.1 billion.

PAF C-130 fleet grounded pending crash probe; black box recovered

Marje Pelayo   •   July 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has grounded its fleet of C-130 planes while investigation is ongoing following the tragedy in Patikul, Sulu on Sunday (July 4).

Airmen from the 220th Airlift Wing Aircraft Accident Investigation Board are currently at the crash site investigating the mishap that befell the C-130 plane carrying their comrades for deployment to a supposed anti-terrorism assignment.

On Tuesday (July 6), authorities on the ground recovered the flight data recorder (FDR) and cockpit voice recorder (CVR) of the C-130 plane. The ‘blackbox’ will be subjected for evaluation and data analysis to determine the exact cause of the incident.

The investigating team, composed of personnel of various specialization like pilots, maintenance, medical and other technical fields, is gathering evidence and conducting interviews, among others, to gather as much information about the incident.

In a press release authorized by Air Force Public Affairs Office Chief Lt.Col. Maynard Mariano, PAF explained that the said C-130 was not overloaded and was within the operational limits and capacity when it left Laguindingan Airport.

It had 96 passengers compared to its maximum capacity of 120 passengers, contrary to the circulating rumor that the aircraft was overloaded.

Among those on board the aircraft were 84 Army troopers and 12 PAF personnel which included three pilots, five crew members, three S-7 team members, and one thru passenger. According to the PAF, the priority at present is to identify the bodies of the fatalities through various means with the help of a SOCO team.

Details on the casualties, particularly their names, shall be withheld until their loved ones have been properly informed.

US offers support to Philippines after C-130 plane crash in Sulu

Robie de Guzman   •   July 5, 2021

The United States of America (USA) has extended its condolences to the Philippines after a C-130 military plane with 96 people on board crashed in Sulu on Sunday.

“On behalf of the United States, I offer our deep condolences to the people of the Philippines regarding the tragic plane crash in which several dozen service members were killed,” US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in a statement.

“Our thoughts are with those who were injured and the families of those who were lost,” he added.

Sullivan also offered support to the Philippines in its disaster response effort.

“We stand shoulder to shoulder with our Philippine allies at this difficult time and are ready to provide all appropriate support to the Philippines’ response effort,” he said.

A Philippine Air Force C-130 plane, with tail number 5125, crashed around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Initial investigation showed that the plane took off from Lumbia Airport in Cagayan de Oro City and was about to land in Jolo port in Sulu when it crashed. The plane was said to have missed the runway while trying to land.

As of Monday, the number of military personnel who died from the fiery crash climbed to 47, while 49 were injured.

Of those injured, 32 were evacuated to Zamboanga City while 18 are being treated at Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital and 11th Infantry Division Hospital.

Three civilians on the ground were also killed and four others were hurt.

The military said all passengers, pilots, and crew were already retrieved.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza has ordered a full investigation into the incident.

Lorenzana on allegations that AFP procures, uses defective equipment: ‘Baseless and disrespectful’

Maris Federez   •   July 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has called out those who have spread speculations following the C-130 plane crash in Patikul, Sulu before noon on Sunday.

“With the investigations of the past mishaps still ongoing, such speculations are as of yet baseless and disrespectful to the affected men and women of the Philippine Air Force, AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and their families,” Lorenzana said.

The defense chief further said that the department as well as the AFP are using all means in conducting search and rescue operations in the crash site.

“We are currently focusing our attention on the rescue of the survivors of the C-130 crash and all available resources of the AFP are being utilized for the ongoing search and retrieval operations,” he said.

Lorenzana also called on the public to refrain from spreading highly speculative statements about the unfortunate incident.

Meanwhile, Joint Task Force Sulu commander MGen William Gonzales said that the Philippine Army is hopeful that their search and rescue operations will yield more survivors.

“We remain to be hopeful that we could find more survivors. Our search and rescue (operation) is still ongoing with 17 personnel unaccounted. These individuals were supposed to report to their battalions today. They were supposed to join us in our fight against terrorism,” Gonzales said.

“This is a sad day but we have to remain hopeful. We enjoin the nation to pray for those who are injured and those who have perished in this tragedy,” he added. —/mbmf


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