CAAP seeks help from Hong Kong, Japan in search of missing Isabela plane

James Relativo - Philstar.com
CAAP seeks help from Hong Kong, Japan in search of missing Isabela plane
Search and rescue teams of the 95th Infantry Battalion (95IB), 5th Infantry Division are pictured scouring the Sierra Madre mountains in search of passengers of a missing Cessna plane from Isabela province, January 27, 2023
Released / Philippine Army

MANILA, Philippines — The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) tapped their counterparts based in Hong Kong and Japan to aid them in the search and rescue of a missing 6-seater Cessna plane from Isabela Province.

A full-scale search and rescue operation is currently in full swing after a Cessna 206 (RP-C1174) that departed from Cauayan Airport failed to arrive at Maconacon Airport last January 24. Civilian passengers aboard were supposed to attend a relative's wake in Maconacon prior to the incident.

CAAP spokesperson Eric Apolonio on Saturday said they already got in touch with the Hong Kong Mission Control Center (HKMCC) and Japan Mission Control Center (JAMCC) to have them review their respective systems for "distress alerts" from RP-C1174.

After using their Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking (SARSAT) system, HKMCC replied with the following: "[N]o detection recorded from the said [Emergency Locator Transmitters]," according to Apolonio. 

Hong Kong authorities then requested the JAMCC to reivew their systems for similar distress alerts on the HEX ID of ELT of RP-C1174 for double confirmation.

"Japan MCC replied that no detection from the ELT and no past detection found in their record," the CAAP official said. 

Information and communication from the two the mission control centers were reported to have been relayed Friday and Saturday.

Rescue operations have reportedly been tough for authorities in the past few days due to bad weather, resulting to its halt last Wednesday.

A certain Anna May Kamatoy in a Bombo Radyo interview earlier said that her brother-in-law and two of her children were among those who were on the plane.

One of Kamatoy's kids managed to have livestreamed while riding the aircraft.

Sierra Madre mountains as crash site?

The Philippine Army through the 95th Infantry Battalion (95IB), 5th Infantry Division braved the inclement weather in the Sierra Madre mountains of Isabela last Friday to join the search, a place they believe could be the crash site.

"95IB, in close coordination with the Cagayan Valley Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, deployed three search and rescue squads, composed of a total of 33 personnel, at Barangay Dicambangan, Divilacan; Barangay Sapinit, Divilacan; and Barangay Dibuluan, San Mariano," said the Philippine Army Friday.

"The Army’s search and rescue teams have been working around the clock with police and other government responders in conducting extensive search operations in the rugged terrain of Sierra Madre."


Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner earlier lauded the 95IB search and rescue team's efforts due to their "selfless dedication" in saving the missing passengers.

On Thursday, a long-range drone used by a team looking for the plane was said to have detected a "white object" in a remote forest in Divilacan, raising hope that it was the distressed aircraft.

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