The Secretary of the Department of Local Government (DILG), (Sec) Jesse Robredo (54) is currently missing along with the two pilots after the plane carrying him crashed off the water of Masbate after attempting an emergency landing, Saturday, August 18, 2012 around 5PM.
The small plane, six-seater Piper Seneca with Registry No. RPC 4431 , was piloted by a Filipino pilot Capt. Jessup Bahinting, owner of Aviatour Flight School, and Nepali co-pilot Kshitiz Chand as it took off Cebu City on Saturday to Naga City, the hometown of the secretary. Thirty (30) minutes after the plane took off, two engines failed.
The secretary called his wife, Maria Leonor “Leni” Gerona Robredo, immediately (4:30PM, Saturday, August 18. 2012) telling her that their plane experienced mechanical problem. The call according to Leni was suddenly cut-off.
The pilots sent a distress call to the Masbate airport and asked permission to land. That was the last contact of the plane which crashed a kilometer away from the runway of the Masbate airport.
The fourth man on the plane was P/Senior Insp. Jun Abrazado who is the police aide of the sec Robredo. He lost consciousness as the plane slammed the water. But he later managed to swim out of the plane. He was rescued by the fishermen in the area.
Abrazado told the media that he tried to secure the secretary before the crash. However, when he regained consciousness, the water was already rising inside the plane and he did not find the secretary. He suffered bruises and his arm is in sling.
Abrazado helped the search operation by providing them information and later joined the team along with the President, Benigno “PNOY” Aquino III.
Bodies of the Secretary and the Two Pilots, Retrieved
According to authorities, divers found the overturned fuselage 55 meters underwater and about 55 meters off the coast of Masbate at around 7AM Tuesday, August 21, 2012. Inside the fuselage, they found the body of the DILG secretary and the bodies of the two pilots were jammed inside the cockpit.
Divers pulled out the bodies.
The search team is composed of more than 600 coastguard personnel along with civilians and volunteers. The foreign deep sea (technical) divers found the wreckage.
The DILD Secretary arrived at 11AM in Cebu and attended the ground breaking of the Philippine Police Safety College in the town of Consolacion. He then proceeded to the International Convention Center in Mandaue City and delivered his speech before the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Community Investigative Support National Summit.
According to the Secretary’s schedule, he was supposed to board the Cebu Pacific flight at 2:40PM (Saturday) back to Manila. But He decided to take a chartered flight from Aviatour Flight School based in Lapu-Lapu City, Mactan Island.
Why did the Secretary opted to ride small plane when in fact he was not comfortable to ride it?
Report said that Secretary Robredo decided to go home instead of going to Manilabecause he wanted to give a treat his youngest daughter Jillian, who won a bronze medal in an international math contest held in Singapore.
Sources: PDI, PhilStar, SunStar, Tempo
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