MANILA - Malaysian authorities are searching for the Filipino pilot of a helicopter that crashed in the Borneo island state of Sarawak, Malaysia on Thursday.
The Eurocopter AS 350 piloted by Rudolh Rex Raagas had onboard Plantation Industries and Commodities Deputy Minister Datuk Noriah Kasnon, her husband Asmuni Abdullah, two other government officials and a personal bodyguard.
The Malay Mail Online reported that five bodies have been recovered near the crash site, as of Saturday.
Only three fatalities have been identified so far, including Kasnon, her bodyguard Ahmad Sobri Harun and ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Surandran Annamalai.
The ongoing search and rescue operations were made difficult by the dense foliage in the area that is also inhabited by crocodiles.
A niece of the Filipino pilot was set to go to Malaysia to get updates of the search mission.
The Eurocopter AS350 disappeared Thursday en route from Betong to Kuching during campaigning for the Sarawak state election, according to the Malay Mail Online.
A preliminary report of the incident is expected to be released within a month. -- Report from Kevin Manalo, ABS-CBN News