Air Force pilot killed in jet crash: report

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 28 2011 05:05 PM | Updated as of Apr 30 2011 01:36 AM

 MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) -  A Philippine Air Force trainer plane crashed near a beach in Bagac town in Bataan province on Thursday afternoon, killing at least one pilot, a military official said.

Northern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Gaudencio Pangilinan said the Aermacchi S-211 trainer jet crashed at 3:15 p.m. in Banawang village near the Stela Mariz Beach resort.

Citing sketchy information, Pangilinan said the aircraft was piloted by Maj. Ephraim Gatus Suyom and one de Leon. 

"(The) aircraft disintegrated upon impact…One confirmed dead, identification still for confirmation," said Pangilinan.

Air Force spokesperson Miguel Okol told ANC's Top Story that they have yet to confirm the fatality.

He said the airplane, which took off from Clark Field in Pampanga around 2:45 p.m., was on a routine proficiency flight.

Pangilinan said elements of the Army's 24th Infantry Battalion are now on site, security the crash site. 

Col. Gregorio Catapang, commander of the Army's 703rd Brigade, said the plane was totally wrecked.

"They (Army troops) are securing the area. They are retrieving the dead…The retrieval operations are ongoing," he said, adding initial reports showed that one body was already recovered at site but they are not in the position to identify him.

"The aircraft disintegrated," Catapang said.

In July last year, an S-211 plane crashed in Concepcion town in Tarlac while in a training exercise. 

The 2 pilots were unharmed as they were able to eject from the plane.