MANILA (UPDATED)— The Philippine military has recovered and identified those who died in the Black Hawk helicopter crash in Tarlac province last week.
The Philippine Air Force said in a statement Tuesday that all the remains of the crewmen who died in the training mission in Capas town have been retrieved, while the recovery of the aircraft is still ongoing.
Those who died were identified as:
- Lt. Col. Rexzon Pasco, instructor pilot
- Maj. Jayrold Constantino, student pilot
- Maj. Eraño Belen, student pilot
- MSgt. Ronnie Reducto, instructor scanner
- Sgt. Maricar Laygo, student scanner
- Sgt. Leonardo Tandingan, student scanner.
The PAF said the deceased crewmen, who have been accorded with full military honors, will be brought to their hometowns as requested by their kin.
"The Philippine Air Force extends its deepest sympathy and sincerest condolences to the families, relatives, and friends of the gallant air crew. The PAF shall extend all necessary assistance and support to the concerned families," it said.
The PAF has yet to determine the cause of the mishap but assured search and retrieval operations continue to be conducted, while its Black Hawk fleet will not be used during the investigation.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana personally visited the crewmen's wake and ordered the grounding of the Black Hawk chopper fleet after the crash.
Before it crashed in Capas, the chopper was one of 6 Black Hawks of the PAF used for night flight proficiency training.
These trainings are meant to boost the capabilities of pilots and crew, prior to their full deployment to assist frontline units in their missions, the PAF had said.
The Black Hawk fleet, which costs more than $240 million, was procured through a government deal with Poland, where manufacturer Sikorsky is based.