Another Cessna crashes; wreckage found in Albay
LIGAO CITY, Albay, Philippines — While authorities were still searching for the Cessna plane that went missing in Isabela province late January, the wreckage of another Cessna reported missing on Saturday morning was found some 40 kilometers east of this city.
Citing a 3:50 p.m. report from the Bicol unit of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD), Senior Supt. Achilles Santiago of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Albay said the wreckage of Cessna RPC340 was seen at the forested boundary between the towns of Guinobatan and Camalig.
As of press time, there was still no update about the pilot, Capt. Rufino James Crisostomo Jr., his mechanic Joel Martin, and their two Australian passengers, Simon Chipperfield and Kathri Santanan.
According to BFP-Albay, the Manila-bound plane left Bicol International Airport (BIA) at 6:43 a.m. amid moderate rain, maintaining communication with the BIA tower a few minutes after takeoff.
The aircraft was last spotted at 6:48 a.m. passing over Goodfound Cement Corp. at an altitude of about 790 meters. Communication with the pilot was cut off at this point.
Residents in Barangay Bantonan, near Barangay Palanog where the cement plant is located, reported seeing the plane still airborne, according to Camalig Mayor Carlos Irwin Baldo Jr.
But it was “flying too low, (emitting) smoke and making a loud crumbling sound before it disappeared,” said Senior Insp. Hamor Laguilles, chief of the Camalig fire station, relaying a report from Bantonan village chief Pablo Miraran.
Search and rescue teams had been deployed in both Albay and Camarines Sur province, Santiago said.
A military source, who asked not to be named for lack of authority to speak on the matter, said the pilot might have encountered difficulties caused by the low pressure area (LPA) affecting the Bicol region.
“This kind of meteorological condition, especially with the effects of the LPA, is a very challenging state for pilots,” the source said.
The crashed Cessna plane in Albay is the second of its type to encounter problems while in Luzon air space.
On Jan. 25, a six-seater Gen AV Cessna 206 disappeared from the radar en route to Maconacon, Isabela, some 60 kilometers from the Cauayan Domestic Airport, where it took off at 2:16 p.m.
—WITH REPORTS FROM MICHAEL JAUCIAN AND VILLAMOR VISAYA JR.
Another Cessna plane goes missing in Albay — CAAP
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