At 3:07 p.m. yesterday, a twin-engine Piper Seneca aircraft took from Mactan carrying 2 pilots and 2 passengers. The flight was to Naga City, Camarines Sur. At 4:30 p.m., the plane encountered some engine problems and had to make an emergency landing in Masbate. The plane was losing altitude fast and it crashed to the sea just a few hundred meters off the runway of Masbate City airport.
The witnesses who saw the crash did not know that among the passengers was a high-ranking cabinet official. Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo was in Cebu yesterday as guest speaker for a summit held at the Cebu International Convention Center. He was to take a flight back to Manila via Cebu Pacific but he decided to board a private plane to his hometown Naga City he will be able to attend an awarding ceremony that will fete his daughter. Just minutes before the crash, he was able to call his wife and told her that the plane was having problems. A search and rescue operation is being undertaken right now led by good friend and President Benigno Aquino III.
Secretary Robredo’s close-in security , Police Inspector Jun Abrazado, survived the crash with minor injuries. He was able to return to the crash site to help the search just moments after being treated for injuries. The other missing passengers are pilot, Jessup Bahinting, and his student Kshitiz Chand, a Nepali national. Bahinting is the Chairman and CEO of Aviatour Air based in Mactan, Cebu. The company is involved in Professional pilot training, charter, aircraft sales, and maintenance services according to its website. It has a fleet of over 30 aircrafts. Just recently Aviatour was credited for helping a King Cobra bite victim from Cebu who needed an anti-venom from Camiguin. According to Cebu City traffic Sylvan “Jack” Jakosalem, Bahinting would given a special Lifesaver award for helping deliver the drug that saved the zoo keeper in next Cebu City Charter day.
A massive search and rescue effort is on-going for the 3 missing passengers and many are praying and hoping that some good news will be received before the end of the day.
- Robredo missing as plane crashes in Masbate (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Robredo’s flight companions identified (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Robredo, 2 others missing after plane crash (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Plane With Philippine Interior Secretary Crashes (abcnews.go.com)
- Plane with Philippine interior secretary crashes (staradvertiser.com)
- Plane carrying Philippine interior secretary crashes at sea while attempting emergency landing (vancouverdesi.com)