Air Force helicopter that crashed in Bukidnon 'well-maintained': spox

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 17 2021 08:44 AM | Updated as of Jan 17 2021 12:35 PM

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MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippine Air Force helicopter that crashed in Bukidnon and left all of its 7 passengers dead was "well-maintained," its spokesman said Sunday.

The UH1H helicopter was on its way back from a resupply mission when the accident happened Saturday, said PAF spokesman Lt Col. Aristides Galang.

"Ito pong helicopter is well-maintained at marami po itong procedure before and after our flight," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.

(The helicopter is well-maintained, and it goes through many procedures before and after our flight.)

"'Yung sinasabi nating medyo may kalumaan na, which is true naman talaga, pero itong mga equipment natin, when it comes to parts and components, puro brand new po yan. Once naabot na po niya yung time for change niya, pinapalitan po natin 'yung parte na yun."

(It's true that it is quite old. But our equipment, when it it comes to parts and components, are all brand new. We replace its parts once it is time to change it.)

Maj. Rodulfo Cordero, public affairs chief of the Philippine Army's 4th Infantry Division, had said that the pilot tried to maneuver to safety after the chopper supposedly suffered engine trouble, but lost control before crashing in Barangay Bulonay around 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

The helicopter was carrying 2 pilots, 2 crew members, a member of the Philippine Army and 2 CAFGU members, Cordero said.

They were identified as pilot-in-command Lt. Col. Arnie Arroyo, co-pilot 2nd Lt. Mark Anthony Caabay, passengers Sgt. Mervin Bersabe, Airman 1st Class Stephen Agarrado, Sgt. Julius Salvado, CAFGU members Jerry Ayocdo and Jhamel Sugalang.

The bodies were recovered Saturday and now lie at St Peter's in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, according to Cordero.

The PAF has sent a team to the area for investigation, Galang said.

"Wala naman pong nadamay na civilian dun sa area po," he said.

(No civilians were involved in the incident.)

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