Four passengers of Cessna plane found dead near crash site
Four passengers of a Cessna 340-A plane, including two Australians, that crashed near the crater of Mayon Volcano on Saturday were found dead by rescuers, Camalig Mayor Carlos Baldo Jr. said Thursday.
“The passengers on board that crashed near the crater of Mayon were found. There were four of them. Now we are conducting retrieval operations,” Baldo told dzBB.
“They were not inside the plane,” he added.
The Energy Development Corp. (EDC), which owned the plane, identified the fatalities as Captain Rufino James Crisostomo, Joel Martin, Simon Chipperfield, and Karh Santhanam.
Baldo said the weather at the crash site has improved but the rescue team found it challenging to walk down the volcano, which is around six kilometers from the crash site.
Asked about what would happen to the crashed plane, Baldo replied: “It depends on CAAP’s (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines) decision.”
In a statement, EDC President and Chief Operating Officer Richard Tantaco said they mourned the passing of their colleagues.
“Our heartfelt sympathies go to their friends and families during this difficult time. It is with the deepest gratitude that we thank the tireless efforts of all rescuers from branches of the government, civilian volunteers, and EDC Response Teams from across the country,” Tantaco said.
“We are working with authorities to bring them home to their loved ones where they may rest in peace,” he added.
In a press conference, Baldo said he is expecting they will finish retrieving the bodies within the day.
“When it comes to our retrieval operations, we are hoping it will be done today,” Baldo told the briefing.
“But you know the situation. Even if the (crash site) has been reached, it’s not that easy for them to climb down (the volcano).”
The Cessna 340 plane was reported missing on Saturday after it left the Bicol International Airport for Manila. Jaspearl Tan/DMS