Philippine rescuers find four bodies from plane wreck near Mayon Crater

23 Feb 2023 02:58pm
In this handout photo provided by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, rescuers stand beside a helicopter as they prepare their search for passengers of a Cessna 340 aircraft with registry number RP-C2080 at Camalig town, Albay province, southeast of Manila, Philippines on Tuesday Feb 21, 2023. - (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines)
In this handout photo provided by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, rescuers stand beside a helicopter as they prepare their search for passengers of a Cessna 340 aircraft with registry number RP-C2080 at Camalig town, Albay province, southeast of Manila, Philippines on Tuesday Feb 21, 2023. - (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines)
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MANILA - Rescuers found four bodies from the small plane which went down a few hundreds of metres away from the crater of an active volcano southeast of Manila six days ago, a local official said on Thursday.

Mayor Caloy Baldo of the Camalig town, where the plane crashed minutes after taking off on Saturday morning, said it could take hours to bring down the bodies of the Filipino pilot and crew and the two Australian engineers aboard the plane from the volcano slope due to the rugged terrain.

"We already shifted from rescue to retrieval operation," Baldo told a press conference, adding that the team reached the wreckage site on Wednesday and found the bodies, reported Xinhua.

He said the team found the four bodies near the crash site about 350 metres from the crater of Mt Mayon, a 2,460-metre cone-shaped volcano located in Albay province, approximately 300 km southeast of Manila on the island of Luzon.

Baldo said the cold weather and the lack of insects and birds in the wreckage site kept the bodies intact, adding that rescue workers would carry the bodies on foot from the volcano.

The danger of sudden volcanic eruption, rockfalls, or landslides coupled with bad weather hampered the search and rescue operation. The crash site is within the six-km danger zone, where no people are allowed, or aircraft can fly.

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines spokesperson Eric Apolonio said the wreckage site is located at the west slope of the volcano at an elevation of 2,500 to 4,000 feet. He has yet to issue a statement on the recovery of the bodies.

On Saturday, the Cessna 340A aircraft went down three minutes after take-off for Manila from the Bicol International Airport in Daraga town.

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The Cessna crash in Albay was the second accident in nearly a month. On the afternoon of Jan 24, a Cessna plane carrying six people, including the pilot and five passengers, went missing after taking off in Isabela province in the northern Philippines. The aircraft remains missing. - BERNAMA

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