2 pilots dead as Cessna plane crashes in Apayao
TUGUEGARAO CITY—The wreckage of a Cessna plane that crashed in Apayao province on Tuesday was found on Wednesday afternoon, but rescue teams reported that its two pilots did not survive the accident.
Joeffrey Borromeo, head of the Apayao provincial disaster risk reduction and management office (PDRRMO), said the debris of Echo Air Cessna 152 and the bodies of Capt. Edzel John Lumbao Tabuzo, a flight instructor, and student pilot Anshum Rajkumar Konde, an Indian national, were located within the boundaries of Barangay Salvacion in Luna town and Barangay San Mariano in Pudtol town.
In a report, Borromeo said a medical and rescue team from the Apayao PDRRMO discovered the aircraft after an aerial search, but details about how the plane and the pilots had been found were not immediately known.
Relatives of the two fatalities had already been informed, Borromeo added.
The victims were on a flight training when their plane disappeared shortly after departing from Laoag International Airport in Ilocos Norte at 12:16 p.m. on Tuesday despite the inclement weather, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) and the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) here.
According to Caap, the Cessna plane was scheduled to arrive at Tuguegarao Airport in Tuguegarao City in Cagayan province around 1 p.m.
The plane was last monitored 32 nautical miles (59.26 kilometers) from Alcala town in Cagayan before it went off radar, Caap said.
At a press briefing, Rueli Rapsing, head of the Cagayan PDRRMO, said the plane managed to send information over radar communication line at an altitude of 8,000 feet before it disappeared.
A Philippine Air Force helicopter on Wednesday flew to Apayao to lead the search for the Cessna plane.
According to the incident management team formed after the aircraft went missing, the search and rescue operation focused entirely on Barangay Salvacion in Luna and Barangay San Mariano in Pudtol where sightings of the plane were reported by locals.
Two helicopters from the Philippine Coast Guard and New Tribe Missionary also flew to Apayao to help in the aerial search, but poor weather conditions forced the choppers to return to Tuguegarao, according to the OCD.
Rapsing said another Cessna plane from Laoag manage to land at Tuguegarao around the same time when the Echo Air Cessna 152 went missing.
The Tuguegarao City-based Echo Air International Navigation Academy Inc., which owns the Cessna plane, said Tabuzo graduated from the WCC Aviation Academy in Pangasinan in 2019. His first solo flight was on March 11 last year.
Konde, on the other hand, started his flight school early this year. His first solo flight was on July 7.
The pilots’ ages were not immediately known.
Echo Air’s Cessna 152, the Caap said, is an American-made two-seat, fixed-tricycle-gear general aviation plane that is used for flight training.