2 army pilots killed in Air Force plane crash

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 29 2011 01:23 PM | Updated as of Apr 29 2011 09:23 PM

BATAAN, Philippines – The Philippine Air Force (PAF) confirmed Friday that two of its pilots were killed when its aircraft crashed off the coast of Bagac, Bataan.

Reports said the AS-211 Jet aircraft carrying the two pilots crashed on Thursday at around 3:15 p.m. in the vicinity of Stella Maris Beach Resort, Sitio Looc, Barangay Banawang, while undergoing routine proficiency flight.

The casualties were identified as combat-ready pilot Capt. Raymond de Leon of Philippine Military Army (PMA) class of 2003 and instructor pilot Major Ephraim Suyom of PMA class of 1997.

The Philippine Coast Guard recovered Suyom’s body on Thursday, reports said.

At around 7 a.m. on Friday, the body of de Leon was recovered.

Search and retrieval operations for debris of the aircraft are ongoing to help authorities in determining the cause of the crash.

A PAF statement said Air Force Commanding General Lt. Gen. Oscar Rabena immediately dispatched an investigating team to ascertain the cause of the accident.

Rabena likewise ensured that the needs of the victims’ families are met and taken cared of. -- Report from Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN Bataan