MANILA - (4th UPDATE) A known Filipino businessman and two companions were killed when a helicopter they were riding crashed in a fishpond in Malolos, Bulacan on Thursday, police said.
Businessman and helicopter owner, Liberato “Levy” P. Laus was among the fatalities, Bulacan Governor Willy Alvarado said.
Laus, 68, was the chairman of LausGroup of Companies (LGC), "one of the largest multi-brand dealership network in the Philippines, with over 45 dealerships from Metro Manila, Central, and Northern Luzon."
He also owned CarWorld, Premier Cars BMW, Ford Pampanga, CGIC non-life insurance firm, radio station DWRW 95.1 FM and CLTV 36, according to a Sunstar report.
In a statement, the Laus family and the LGC mourned the death of the businessman.
"He made and left an ingrained mark in the automotive industry as well as the lives of numerous partners he inspired and encouraged, family and friends he loved and cherished, and clients he served and helped," the statement read.
"He unfailingly demonstrated the exceptional values in business, integrity and compassion in all his work. His enthusiasm, quick wit and endless charm will inspire and stay with us always. He will be remembered for his love of and dedication to the LGC as a group of companies, as a brand, as a family. He will be greatly missed."
The family requested that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be donated to the Levy P. Laus Foundation, Inc.
Two of the victims died at the crash site in Barangay Anilao, the Bulacan police earlier said in a spot report.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said the aircraft, which crash-landed around 12:47 pm, was owned and operated by LGC Air Transport. The helicopter left NAIA General Aviation (GenAv) hangar bound for San Fernando, Pampanga at 12:28 pm.
The aircraft's passengers were brought to Bulacan Medical Center in Malolos.
CAAP Director, General Capt. Jim Sydiongco said an Aircraft Accident Investigation and Inquiry Board has already been dispatched to the crash site.
- With reports from Jeck Battalones, Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News