MANILA, Philippines – The wreckage of the Piper Seneca plane that crashed off the coast of Masbate, killing the Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo and two others, has arrived in Manila Thursday for the start of the formal investigation.
Officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), which will conduct the thorough investigation, and outgoing Transportation and Communications Secretary Manuel Roxas, received the crates containing the parts of the plane at the Manila South Harbor Thursday afternoon.
“Now that the important parts of the plane wreckage are with CAAP, the special investigation team is quickly proceeding with the formal probe of the incident,” Roxas said in a statement. “Let’s not make any speculation and let CAAP find out the real cause of the plane accident.”
The fuselage of the plane, two wings and engines, and other parts recovered from the crash site, were transported to Manila on board the Philippine Coast Guard Vessel AE-891 from Masbate Tuesday.
The CAAP had earlier formed the 5-man Special Investigation Committee composed of aviation industry experts and headed by Captain Amado Soliman, CAAP accident investigation board chief.
Statements from operators of the crashed plane, key employees and relevant documents such as technical records, pilot and maintenance manuals, etc., have been secured by the investigation team.
“The team also collected fuel samples from two Aviator aircraft and from its refuelling tank,” it said.
“The pieces of evidence will be sent straight to the CAAP office along MIA Road in Pasay City where the Special Investigation Committee will examine them,” DOTC said.
The Piper Seneca plane that was carrying Robredo and his aide June Abrazado, had reportedly encountered engine trouble en route to Naga city on August 18.
Pilot Captain Jessup Bahinting and co-pilot Nepalese flight student Kshitiz Chand, had reportedly radioed Masbate airport requesting to conduct an emergency landing but the plane crashed some 500 meters from the runway.
Abrazado was the sole survivor of the crash after he escaped from the plane before it sank and was rescued by passing a fisherman.