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SAR teams abort retrieval ops due to bad weather

  • Written by Itchie G. Cabayan
  • Published in Metro
  • Read: 255

SEARCH and rescue (SAR) teams undertaking the retrieval of the bodies of the two helicopter crash victims recently had to be aborted yesterday due to zero visibility, coupled with strong winds and heavy rains which prevented rescue helicopters to penetrate the crash site over the mountains of Gen. Nakar in Quezon province.

Authorities said that if good weather prevails, rescuers from the Philippine Air Force’s 505th SAR Group will try to attempt to reach the area again.

It will be recalled that just a couple of days ago, or on Saturday, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) confirmed that a single-engine light helicopter AS350B2 type operated by Macroasia Air Taxi Services with registry number RP-C2688 went missing last August 22, 2016 and was located at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday with the bodies of two persons on board.

The fatalities were identified by the CAAP Operations and Rescue Coordinating Center (ORCC) as Capt. Miguel Logronio and his aircraft mechanic Eng. Jay Gregorio.

They were reportedly on a mission to pick up and rescue several stranded engineers and miners working at the Sumag River diversion tunnel in General Nakar, Quezon province, when the accident occurred last Monday.                
   
Efforts to locate the missing chopper took several days because of the bad weather condition in the area. On Saturday, a helicopter piloted by Capt. Jojo Consuji was able to drop two rescuers onsite and penetrated the crash site.                   
   
Reportedly, the chopper crash site was first sighted by the PAF’s 505th SOKOL helicopters SAR group last August 23 and the sighting was relayed to the SAR team of the 48th Infantry Battalion on the ground.          
   
Together with local ‘Dumagats’ in the area, the rescuers proceeded to the crash site by foot but were prevented by heavy rains and strong winds from penetrating the site which is ladened with thick vegetation and located on a very stiff portion of the cliff.