Pilot was a ‘life saver’
THREE days before his plane crashed in Masbate, Capt. Jessup Bahinting and his Aviator Flying School did a heroic thing.
The owner sent one of his Cessna planes and a Nigerian pilot on an emergency mission to Camiguin province to pick up vials of anti-snake venom that eventually saved the life of a zoo keeper in Cebu City who was bitten by a King Cobra.
“He didn’t hesitate to help when I called him,” said traffic chief Sylvan Jakosalem.
“He immediately allowed use of one of his planes.”
For that act, Bahinting, who is in his 60s, was due to receive a special Lifesaver award from the Cebu city government.
“We earlier agreed with Mayor Michael Rama to give him and his flying school that award in the next City Charter Day celebration (held on February 2013),” said Jakosalem.
Still missing after an Aviator plane he piloted crashed past 4 p.m. off coastal waters of Masbate province, Bahinting is feared to be one of the fatal losses of the air accident, along with Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo.
Bahinting was born in Siquijor and raised in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental, he obtained formal flight training at the Mindanao Aeronautical Technical School.
“It makes me very sad because it’s a double whammy. We still don’t know what happened to Secretary Jesse Robredo and a very good friend of mine (Bahinting),” Jakosalem told Cebu Daily News.
He said Bahinting was concerned about the health status of zoo keeper Ronaldo “Ronron” Aventurado even after the mercy flight and would text asking for updates.
The pilot’s last message to Jakosalem was on Friday evening after being told that the zoo keeper was gaining strength in the hospital and was taken off the ventilator: “Praise the Lord!”
Jakosalem said he had planned to let the zoo keeper who survived the Aug. 14 near-fatal snake bite to be the one to hand special Lifesaver awards to the pilot , Camiguin Gov. JJ Romualdo and the Cebu City Medical Center in the next Charter Day celebration.
“He is such a good man. You can just imagine how his family and friends feels about this,” said Jakosalem.
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