Aquino still in Masbate to oversee resumption of search for Robredo on MondayBy Jonas Soltes
Inquirer Southern Luzon
MASBATE CITY, Philippines—After spending Sunday in Masbate, President Aquino stayed overnight to oversee the resumption of the search-and-rescue operation for Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo and two pilots starting 5 a.m. Monday.
So far the search-and-rescue teams from the Coast Guard, Navy, Army, Air Force, police and the provincial government found only a broken wing of the ill-fated plane that crashed off Masbate City on Saturday.
The flight manifesto was recovered about 4 p.m. by a Coast Guard diver. It was found at about 1 kilometer from the coast and Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas said the plane could just be in the vicinity of where the manifesto was found.
The Coast Guard divers also found what could be skid marks on the sea bed of Masbate Bay.
Roxas said the marks could be a sign that the wreckage of the plane was being tossed by the underground current.
Roxas ordered the Coast Guard to delineate the area where the wreckage of the plane could possibly be and immediately tie it so that it would not be tossed and turned by the current.
Roxas also ordered the coast guard to put everything in place to anticipate the recovery of the wreckage.
According to the estimate of the Coast Guard, the wreckage could have sunk almost 150 feet from the surface.
Roxas said that even the fly-by on Saturday night of an aircraft of the US government, which offered to help, did not pinpoint the crash site or know the whereabouts of Robredo and the two pilots.
Roxas said sonar equipment from Cebu arrived Sunday afternoon and greatly helped in the operation.
The two-kilometer stretch of the boulevard that parallels the Masbate Bay in Barangay (village) Ibingay, on the seas off which the plane crashed, was cordoned off by the police to fend off vehicles and minimize crowds.
But the cordons did not prevent city residents from rushing into the boulevard and on the shores of Masbate Bay to keep vigil and wait for news on what happened to Robredo. The roadside was teeming with children, men and women.