Still no sign of missing PAF pilots

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PCG divers retrieving a debris that was believed to be part of the missing OV-10 (Photo by PCG Palawan)

MANILA, Philippines—For a second day, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) failed to find the pilots and main wreckage of the OV-10 Bronco light attack aircraft that crashed in waters off Palawan last Sunday.

“The search will continue until the wreckage is found and the fate of the two officers known,” said PAF spokesman Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol.

Okol identified the pilots as Maj. Jonathan Ybanez and 1st Lt. Abner Trust Nacion. He said they were officially “listed as missing.”

Both Ybanez and Nacion belong to the 15th Strike Wing based in Sangley, Cavite.

Nacion is a member of Philippine Military Academy Class of 2009.

“The PAF has contracted the use of sonar equipment from Cebu to complement the other equipment used in the search. The effort is being supported by the AFP Western Command with the Navy and Coast Guard conducting the search even at night,” Okol said.

Plane parts found

Marine Lt. Cheryl Tindog, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command based in Palawan, said that so far the search had turned up a parachute, cargo bay door, nose cone, life raft, fuel tank and green cushion and other debris from the plane.

A nose wheel was found by a fisherman at Tagburos Wharf, Tindog said.

“Our vessels have not left the area. We are continuing with our search and we have recovered quite a lot of debris and other items,” she said, adding the search was going on day and night.

Test flight

The OV-10 Bronco, which serves as an all-purpose aircraft for the PAF, crashed Sunday night as it was making its way back to Palawan after a night proficiency test flight.

The waters where it was believed to have crashed are approximately 150 feet deep, according to local fishermen.—With a report from Redempto D. Anda, Inquirer Southern Luzon

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