CAAP confirms Mayon wreckage is missing Cessna plane

Raffy Cabristante, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 21 2023 06:40 PM

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Condition of downed aircraft's passengers, crew yet to be determined

MANILA — The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) on Tuesday confirmed that the wreckage found near Mayon Volcano's crater was the Cessna 340 plane that went missing in Bicol over the weekend.

CAAP spokesperson Eric Apolonio told ANC that their investigators confirmed the wreckage after they identified the markings from the missing aircraft using footage from an infrared camera.

Investigators were able to reach the area through a Philippine Air Force (PAF) Black Hawk helicopter, he said.

But Apolonio said rescue authorities had not yet confirmed the condition of the Cessna plane's passengers and crew, as they could not reach the area due to bad weather.

About 100 rescue personnel will begin their operations by trekking the Mayon Volcano at 6 a.m. Wednesday, he also said, adding that the conditions of the crash site would make rescue attempts "dangerous."

"It's very dangerous because it's sloped. It's a permanent danger zone, and we cannot discount the fumes of the volcano," Apolonio said.

Tuesday marked the third day since a Cessna 340 plane went missing on Saturday morning, just 3 minutes after taking off from the Bicol International Airport.

The plane had 4 souls on board: a pilot, co-pilot, and 2 Australian nationals who were consultants of the power firm Energy Development Corporation (EDC). 

Apolonio had earlier said that despite 2 Cessna planes going missing in Bicol and Isabela since January, there was no reason to suspend their operations in the country.

He also noted that an investigation was underway as to why the downed Cessna plane was found along the slopes of Mayon, as the volcano is considered a no-fly zone.

—With a report from Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News