Recto: ‘I was supposed to be in that chopper’
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto avoided a possibly fatal crash or debilitating injury in Tarlac on Thursday afternoon as he “for some reason” boarded another chopper bound for Crow Valley in Capas town.
Recto also heaved a sigh of relief after knowing that passengers of the Sokol helicopter he saw smash on to a ravine were all alive.
“Thank God. [I] am glad [there were] no casualties. AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) did a good job in recovering victims,” he told reporters in a text message.
“[I] was supposed to be in that chopper,” he said.
According to Recto’s staff, the senator was going to the military reservation camp to witness the live fire drill.
Recto, a reservist, was supposed the board the Sokol helicopter but “for some reason” got on the next chopper.
Coop-NATCCO party-list Rep. Anthony Bravo, however, was among those injured in the incident. Others who were also hurt from the crash were former House Secretary General Cesar Pareja; Baltazar Reyes; Col. Arthur Baybayan, sergeant-at-arms of the Commission on Appointments; Daisy De Lima, Romeo V. Almonte, 1st Lt. Melvin Betia, and Edilberto M. Mandap.
“Thanks for your prayers. The pilot suffered head injuries and the crew has a broken arm. I have minor scratches along with most of the passengers. The helicopter crashed just as we were about to land in Crow Valley,” Pareja told reporters.
Reports reaching the police headquarters in Camp Crame, Quezon City revealed that the helicopter – a PZL W-3 Sokół – was descending on the landing deck when the pilot lost control of the chopper and fell on the nearby ravine.
In a DZBB report, Baybayan said they were to attend an “AFP legislative stakeholders’ engagement” at Crow Valley. /kga
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