Retrieval operation ends after bodies of 4 Cessna plane crash victims recovered
LEGAZPI CITY — Camalig Mayor Carlos Irwin Baldo Jr. has ordered termination of the retrieval operations on Thursday night (March 2) after the complete retrieval of the four bodies from the Cessna plane crash site to the base of the Mayon Volcano.
The fourth body was dropped off near the incident command post in Barangay (village) Anoling at around 6:43 p.m.
The first three bodies were retrieved from the volcano’s slopes on Wednesday night (March 1) and early Thursday.
The pilot’s remains, Captain Rufino James Crisostomo Jr., mechanic Joel Martin, and Australian passengers Simon Chipperfield and Karthi Santhanam were set to be turned over to the Scene of the Crime Operatives for further investigation.
Baldo expressed gratitude for the selfless efforts of the responders during the operations that started on Feb. 18 after the plane crashed 350 meters from the volcano’s crater.
“Amid the steep slopes of Mayon, rockfall events, fogginess, strong winds, loose, damp, and slippery soils, and the risk of a possible phreatic eruption, the responders pushed through to accomplish one of Albay’s most arduous whole-of-government and whole-of-society high-angle search and retrieval mission to date,” Baldo said in a Facebook post.
The responders were mountaineers from the Albay Climbing Community, Mayon Mountaineers, Federation of Bicol Mountaineers Inc., Mountaineering Federation of the Philippines, Inc. the Wilderness Search and Rescue; local guides and residents, Naval Special Operations Group, the Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Police, Philippine Army, Energy Development Corporation (EDC), Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine Air Force (PAF), Philippine Navy, and other volunteers.
He also thanked the EDC for the full logistics support during operations.
“Apart from the determination of the teams operating administratively and on the actual field, the EDC has further fueled the operations in a robust stride, providing daily supplies of food, water, equipment, and other augmentation since day 1, for their 4 colleagues and families,” he added.
Crisostomo and Martin were employees of the EDC, while the Australian passengers were technical consultants.