MANILA, Philippines (Update 3) - A Philippine Air Force OV-10 Bronco attack aircraft crashed in Crow Valley in Capas, Tarlac Wednesday afternoon, killing 2 Air Force pilots on board.
Since 1947, at least 165 have died from aviation-related accidents involving the Philippine military. See list.
Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Gerardo Zamudio identified the fatalities as Capt. Jose Enriquez Leonardo Corpuz and his co-pilot, 1Lt. Apollo Carandang. The crash occurred less than a month after another PAF aircraft, a Nomad bush plane, crashed in Cotabato City, killing 9 people.
"We confirm that an OV-10 plane crashed at 2:40 p.m. today in Crow Valley, Tarlac. Initial reports state that the said aircraft took off at 11:25 in the morning and the aircraft was piloted by 2 PAF officers who were on flight training. The remains of the 2 pilots have already been recovered," Zamudio told ANC. There were no passengers on the plane, he said.
Zamudio said a team from the PAF's 15th Strike Wing has been deployed to retrieve debris from the crash site. He added that as a matter of procedure, all Air Force OV-10s have been grounded pending the result of an investigation to be conducted by the PAF.
Initial reports from Armed Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Romeo Brawner said the 2 PAF officers were conducting aerial gunnery training in Crow Valley when their plane crashed. "Dyan talaga nag-te-training sila e. Aerial gunnery training so...may targets yan tapos titirahin nila," he told reporters.
Maj. Gen Horacio Lapinid, commander of the PAF's 1st Air Division, said the plane came from Clarkfield Pampanga, home of the 1st Air Division in Angeles City. He said the gunnery training was part of the annual Teak Piston training event, which is conducted with members of the United States Air Force.
He said the two pilots were simulating a bombing run when their aircraft nose-dived. "Yung feedback lang sa amin is bumulusok lang daw from recovery...supposed to be nag-re-recover from delivery ng bomb e derederetsong pababa," he said.
Lapinid said no other Philippine or American aircraft was flying during the conduct of the specific training module.
He said the PAF will conduct an immediate investigation as to the cause of the crash. He said he last flew an OV-10 in 2006.
Last January 4, an OV-10 malfunctioned after its landing gear collapsed during a regular maintenance operations flight at the Davao City airport. No was killed or injured in the incident.
The latest crash leaves the Air Force with only 2 OV-10 planes, which are used for bomb and rocket attacks to military enemies.