Another Cessna plane goes missing in Albay — CAAP
MANILA, Philippines — A Cessna plane with four people went missing on Saturday morning in Albay province, and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has now declared the emergency to be in Distress Phase.
“A Cessna 340 (Caravan) aircraft with registry number RP-C2080 went missing in Camalig, Albay today, 18 February 2023. Last contact with the aircraft was made with air traffic control at 6:46 AM today, while the aircraft was abeam Camalig Bypass Road,” said the CAAP in a statement.
This is the second Cessna plane to go missing this year, with the first disappearing in Isabela in January.
The Manila-bound flight left the Bicol International Airport (BIA) at 6:43 a.m., and carried a pilot, a crew, and two Australian passengers.
The Camalig local government, Philippine Air Force, Philippine Coast Guard, Office of Civil Defense, and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council have been informed and were working with the CAAP for search-and-rescue operations.
Local disaster risk reduction management teams and special rescue units of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) are conducting searches in Albay and Camarines provinces for an aircraft that went missing on Saturday, minutes after it left the BIA.
An initial report from the BFP Albay said the Cessna RPC340, with pilot Captain Rufino James Crisostomo Jr., crew Joel Martin and Australian passengers Simon Chipperfield and Kathri Santanan, took-off from BIA in Daraga town at 6:43 a.m. on its way to Manila.
At first, communication between the BIA tower and the pilot was clear and consistent, but after several minutes, contact was lost at about 7:30 a.m., the report said.
The last communication was when the pilot was instructed to report 20 miles out of BIA.
The plane was last spotted passing the Camalig cement plant at 2600 ft. at 6:48 a.m.
Camalig Mayor Carlos Irwin Baldo also received reports from residents that the plane was seen above Bantunan village.
“According to [Bantunan] village chief Pablo Miraran, the plane was flying too low [and] smoking with loud crumbling sound then [it] disappeared,” Senior Inspector Hamor Laguilles, Camalig fire chief, told the Inquirer in a phone interview.
Laguilles said they were searching the forested area of Camalig for any sign of the plane.
Senior Superintendent Achilles Santiago of the BFP Bicol said search- and-rescue teams were deployed in Camarines Surfor possible rescue-and-retrieval operations.
“We are on stand by for dispatch for aerial survey, but for now the weather is not permitting,” Technical Seargent Sonny Abad, Civil Military Operations Tactical Operations Group 5, told the Inquirer in an interview.