President Ramon Magsaysay’s last days - Part 5

CEBUPEDIA - Clarence Paul Oaminal (The Freeman) - July 10, 2020 - 12:00am

This is taken from the Official Gazette regarding the last days of President Magsaysay which were spent in Cebu:

“A military plane was immediately dispatched to Cebu with medical supplies and a team of doctors.

“Mata, the lone survivor, was rushed to the hospital badly burned and unconscious, according to Brig. Gen, Manuel Cabal, PC chief.

“Evacuation of the bodies proved to be extremely difficult in view of the fact that one of the ravines is 3,000 feet deep and the area is mountainous and thickly forested.

“Search teams were having a difficult time looking for possible survivors in view of the rough and hilly terrain.

“Chances that there would, be any survivors were described as “nil.”

“Three planes were hovering over Tapyawan until darkness suspended operations. Undersecretary Crisol, with a party of newsmen, scoured the area on foot and by motor car looking for the bodies of the victims.

“Some 200 troops of the Armed Forces, plus about 200 civilians, were thrown into the great task of locating the bodies or survivors of the crash.

“President Magsaysay took off from Lahug airport in Cebu in the Mount Pinatubo at 1:15 a.m. Two minutes later, at 1:17 a.m., as the C-47 became airborne, the pilot radioed Nichols Air Base that he had taken off for Manila and asked that a message be relayed to Malacañang that the presidential car and two other cars be sent to the NAB Base Operations building.

“The message was received at the Palace by Lt. Navarette, one of the presidential aides. He sent the three cars to Nichols Air Base at 2:30 a.m. the time the Mount Pinatubo was expected to land at the airport.

“The pilot’s message at 1:19 a.m. was the last contact Nichols had with the presidential plane.

“The other C-47 stayed at Cebu to wait for the newsmen and other members of the party who decided to stay overnight in the city.

“By 2:30 a.m., the Mount Pinatubo had not reported to the control tower of the Manila International Airport.

“The tower alerted the Air Force and the Civil Aeronautics Administration that the Mount Pinatubo was overdue.” (To be continued)

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