MANILA, Philippines — A joint search and recovery operation was conducted in the waters off Jandayan Island in Getafe, Bohol where the Philippine Air Force (PAF) MD 520MG crashed last April 27, the Philippine Naval Force Central (NAVFORCEN) said.
In a statement, the NAVFORCEN said the joint salvage operation was conducted by the Philippine Navy vessel BRP Abraham Campo (PC396) and the Naval Special Operations Unit 5, in coordination with personnel from 15th Strike Wing, Philippine Air Force and Coast Guard Sub-Station Getafe.
“On April 27, 2021, BRP Abraham Campo received a call from Headquarters, NFC about a reported crash of PAF 520MG at seawaters of Getafe, Bohol and immediately proceeded to the said vicinity. Coordination made with Coast Guard Sub-Station Getafe and 47th Infantry Battalion and confirmed the identities of crew of the said aircraft. They were brought to Garcia Hernandez Memorial Hospital in Talibon, Bohol,” the agency said.
PAF earlier said that one pilot was killed while three others were injured in the crash. The helicopter went down while conducting an engineering flight but the cause is still under investigation.
“After the recovery of the crew of the ill-fated helicopter, a well-studied plan was developed for the recovery of the MG520. Upon availability of the necessary materials and equipment, PC396 launched its Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) with onboard personnel of NAVSOU5, PAF and Civilian Divers and conducted underwater search and investigation,” the NAVFORCEN said.
“Upon confirming the location of the sunken helicopter, a civilian crane barge was utilized to lift and recover the said aircraft,” it added.
The agency said the recovered aircraft was transported by the BRP Abraham Campo from Bohol to Captain Veloso Pier, Naval Base Rafael Ramos, Lapu-Lapu City and was turned-over to PAF’s Tactical Operations Wing-Central.
PAF earlier said it has grounded the MG520 fleet as it investigates the incident.