An official of the Basilan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) confirmed late Wednesday afternoon that four personnel of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) when the helicopter they were riding in crashed during bad weather in Lantawan, Basilan on Wednesday.
Basilan PDRRMO Head Nixon Alonzo said the chopper crashed in a rubber plantation in Barangay Manggas in Lantawan town at around 12 noon.
“Witnesses told us that before the crash, they saw smoke coming out of the chopper and they said the helicopter was not flying normally,” Alonzo told the Manila Bulletin in a phone interview.
“According to the witnesses here, there was an explosion after the crash,” he added.
A police report obtained by the Manila Bulletin identified one of the fatalities as Airman 2nd Class Benedicto Leal. The three other fatalities remain unidentified.
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The police report stated that the crash occurred at the rubber plantation owned by Lantawan Vice Mayor Nasser Abubakar. The crash reportedly occurred due to bad weather condition in the area.
The chopper, according to the police report, came from Zamboanga City.
Alonzo said that when they went to the area, they saw the bodies of four people inside the chopper. He said that based on their observation, it appeared that it was impossible for anybody to have survived the crash.
He described the helicopter as having white and blue color. But he said the chopper was wrecked.
“Based on what we saw, there were no survivors. They were all burned beyond recognition,” said Alonzo.
Alonzo said military personnel already proceeded to the crash site and recovered the four bodies.