(UPDATED) A Cessna single-engine aircraft has gone missing after taking off from Cauayan, Isabela Tuesday.
A Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Office report said the Cessna 206 plane with tail number RPC1174 left the airport at 2:15 pm with 6 onboard including the pilot and 5 passengers. The plane was bound for Maconacon, Isabela but did not arrive.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said it received the report about the missing plane at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Inclement weather, however, hampered search operations.
Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo, Philippine Air Force spokesperson, said the Philippine Air Force was among those tapped to assist in the search. "However, the weather has not cleared in the area for air search operations," she said.
RELATIVES ASK FOR HELP
Ana Mae Kamatoy said it has been more than a day since she could no longer reach the phones of her two sons, nephew, and brother. Her relatives are four of five passengers aboard the Cessna plane declared missing by the CAAP.
Kamatoy's sister was supposed to meet them at the airport in Maconacon town in Isabela, where they were supposed to visit the wake of a relative. However, the plane did not arrive at the scheduled 3 p.m. arrival time.
“Tumawag 'yung kapatid ko noong 5 pm. Wala pa rin daw po 'yung eroplano (sa Maconacon) So nag-worry na sila, 'yun nga, hindi na ma-contact yung pilot. 'Yung pilot nag-leave ng Messenger mga 4 pm. After noon, wala na silang ma-contact,” Kamatoy said.
(My brother called at 5 pm. He said the plane still had not landed (in Maconacon). So they were worried, and they couldn't contact the pilot. The pilot left a message around 4 pm. After that, they could not be contacted.)
Kamatoy appealed to authorities to help find her loved ones.
“Gawin po nila lahat ng paraan to find [my] family. I know buhay sila. Gusto ko maibalik sila dito ngayon. Kagabi pa po ako naghihintay. Umaandar 'yung oras, 'yung araw. Gusto ko nang malaman ngayon,” Kamatoy added.
(Let them do everything possible to find my family. I know they are alive. I want them back here now. I've been waiting since last night. The time of the day is running. I want to know now.)
Redentor Gabutan also hopes rescuers will find the plane as soon as possible. His older sister, Perla, is also on the missing aircraft bound for Maconacon where she runs a general merchandise shop.
Gabutan recalled that his sister called before the plane took off, and he told her to take care. Perla’s phone went off around 8 p.m.
“Alam ko 'yung area na 'yun bulubundukin. Sana ma-search nila agad. Tanggap na namin. Kasi ganun nga 'yung sitwasyon sa area na 'yun.” Gabutan said.
(I know that area is mountainous. I hope they can search immediately. We have accepted. Because that's the situation in that area.)
The CAAP has deployed its Aircraft Accident Investigation and Inquiry Board to lead the search and rescue operations in the mountainous area of Isabela.
It hopes to continue looking for the aircraft on Wednesday, a day after bad weather hampered its aerial search and rescue operations.
"We are having difficulties because it is a mountainous area... and normally the mountain is covered by clouds," CAAP deputy director-general for operations Capt. Edgardo Diaz explained in an interview with ANC.
While Diaz had no information on the age of the aircraft or the flying hours of the pilot, he said its airworthiness is valid up to July 2023 and that its pilot has been "flying for some time."
Diaz added that they're also exploring ground search operations and that the Philippine Air Force and the company that owns the aircraft are helping out.
PAF spokesperson Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo told TeleRadyo on Wednesday that its own helicopters are on standby to be deployed in the search.
"Mayroon po tayong dalawang helicopter stationed in Cauayan, Isabela (and) ready to be deployed. Nag-attempt po ng rescue operations kanina, ng search kanina and rescue operations. However, talagang unfavorable yung weather sa area so they had to go back," Castillo explained.
"Medyo malawak po yung search area," Castillo added. "Medyo unfavorable po (ang flying conditions), bulubundukin po kasi sir yung alleged area na na-crash land ng Cessna."
(We have two helicopters stationed in Cauayan, Isabela and ready to be deployed. We attempted to conduct search and rescue operations earlier. However, the weather in the area was really unfavorable so they had to go back. The search area is quite wide. The flying conditions are a bit unfavorable in the mountains, because the alleged area where the Cessna crashed landed.)
—with a report from Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News