Recovered flight plan gives ‘first sign of location’—RoxasINQUIRER.net
Rescuers equipped with a sonar gear head toward the crash site in Masbate Bay to find missing DILG Chief Jesse Robredo and two pilots of the ill-fated plane. Video courtesy of RTVM/PCOO/PTV
MANILA, Philippines—Divers recovered the flight plan of the ill-fated plane about 100 feet deep on the seabed of Masbate Bay on Sunday, Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas said.
Roxas said the flight plan was found by divers on seabed, providing the “first more definitive sign of location.”
“Divers are being deployed to investigate,” he said, adding that helicopters were scouring the coast off Ticao Island and south-southeast coast.
Aside from the flight plan, the flight manifest of Robredo’s Piper Seneca was found floating 750 meters from the shore on Sunday afternoon.
The flight manifest had the names of the passengers on board the downed aircraft – Robredo, police aide Jun Abrasado and pilots Jessup Bahinting and Kshitiz Chand. (Abrasado survived the crash and was rescued by passing fishermen. Robredo and the two pilots were still missing, as of Sunday.)
The flight manifest was recovered floating in the water at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, giving some hope that the wreckage of the plane could be around the area.
Abrasado survived the crash and currently being treated at a local hospital for minor injuries.
A sonar equipment deployed from the Electronic Geophysical Survey Philippines monitored “signals of disturbance on sea floor,” said Roxas.
“Some trace signals of disturbance on sea floor of indeterminate origin indicated by sonar,” he said.
Earlier, a Navy vessel’s sonar has also detected “something metallic” submerged under the waters off the coast of Masbate where Robredo’s plane plummeted, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said.
“The sonar showed it was something metallic. But it’s not definite yet if that was really the part of the airplane,” Undersecretary Benito Ramos, NDRRMC executive director, said over the phone.
“We are hoping for the best that there are still survivors,” he said.
According to Ramos, a sonar equipment of Navy patrol gunboat 378 detected the metal particle some 240 feet under the sea along Ticao Pass, one of the deepest bodies of water in the country.
He said divers from the Philippine Navy, Coast Guard, the Philippine National Police and other government agencies and private groups were still scouring the area for Robredo and the pilots of the light aircraft.
Aside from the wing portion of the Piper Seneca plane, Ramos said members of the search and rescue teams have yet to recover parts of the ill-fated aircraft. With reports from Frances Mangosing, INQUIRER.net; Marlon Ramos and Edralyn Benedicto, Philippine Daily Inquirer