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‘PAF plane in Bataan crash lacked ejection mechanism’

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - The Philippine Star
âPAF plane in Bataan crash lacked ejection mechanismâ
A handout photo from the Bureau of Fire Protection Region II taken and released on January 25, 2023, shows rescuers retrieving a body from a crashed plane in Pilar, Bataan, where two Philippine air force aviators were killed.
Handout / Bureau of Fire Protection Region II / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — A Philippine Air Force SF260 plane that crashed in a rice field in Bataan last Wednesday had no ejection mechanism, a PAF investigation showed yesterday.

The PAF said a “very thorough and extensive” investigation is ongoing on the crash that killed two PAF personnel.

In an interview aired over dzBB, PAF spokesperson Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo said they are looking at all angles of the crash.

“Sometimes, even if the skies are clear, we cannot say if the wind is not good,” she said in Filipino.

“Sometimes, there are clouds that build up and of course, we cannot rule out any cause right now. We can pinpoint the reason only after the investigation,” she added.

Castillo said the aircraft carrying two PAF pilots were about to go back to their base, but crashed.

She said the PAF’s four SF260s have been in their inventory since the 1990s.

The remaining three aircraft are currently grounded.

She added that the aircraft does not have an ejection mechanism.

“Usually, those who are using the SF260 are using a parachute during (emergencies like) ejection from the aircraft, but the standard operating procedure is to lead the aircraft to a safe and clear landing zone before you go to the last resort, which is to eject yourself,” she said.

“The procedure is that they are equipped with parachutes, and they have to open the canopy and bail themselves out. However, in the long history of this aircraft in the air force, there were no attempts to bail out during an emergency because they are trained… to make sure that the aircraft would land in a clear space,” she added.

While the other planes are currently grounded, she reiterated that the operational aircraft are “good and mission capable.”

In a separate statement yesterday, the PAF identified the two pilots as Captains Ian Gerru Pasinos and Jhon Paulo Aviso.

“Both (are) seasoned pilots with several years of flying experience. Both are recipients of Gold Cross Medals for gallantry in action in different air combat operations to include the military offensives against the dreaded Maute group during the battle of Marawi,” the PAF said.

“Pasinos was also directly involved in different tactical missions to include support to JTF Zampelan’s Operations in Lanao del Sur in April 2017, and the all-out military offensives against the Abu Sayyaf in Bohol in August 2017,” it added.

Search for Cessna

Meanwhile, search and rescue operations are ongoing for the Cessna 206 plane that went missing in Isabela last Wednesday, the PAF said.

The plane had six passengers when it took off from the Cauayan airport on Tuesday, but is yet to be found as of yesterday.

“Our tactical operations group 2 that is based on Cauayan, Isabela are in constant coordination with the Office of Civil Defense 2 and the provincial disaster risk reduction and management council, which leads the search and rescue operations,” Castillo said.

The PAF spokesperson said that their helicopters attempted to go to the alleged crash site, but they could not penetrate due to bad weather.

“They were on standby the whole day, and hopefully, the weather could clear up so we could go into the area,” she said.

“Unfortunately, [on Wednesday] our helicopters attempted to the alleged crash site to find the helicopter, but could not penetrate,” she added.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said that at about 3:17 in the afternoon Tuesday, the aircraft RPC1174 “did not arrive at its intended destination” at the Maconacon airport in Isabela province.

The last contact made by the plane to the air traffic controller was at 2:19 p.m., barely four minutes after departing from Cauayan airport.

PHILIPPINE AIR FORCE

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