ZAMBOANGA CITY – Four people were killed when a rescue helicopter of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) crashed in Basilan province amid the inclement weather experienced in many parts of the country on Wednesday, an official said.
Maj. Al-Nasser Abdurakman, PAF’s Tactical Operations Wing-Western Mindanao (TOW-Westmin) information officer, said the incident occurred around 1 p.m. Wednesday in Barangay Upper Manggas, Lantawan, Basilan.
Abdurakman was unable to release the identities of the fatalities, except to say two of them are male pilots and two male crewmen contrary to information circulating on social media that one of the two pilots was a female.
Abdurakman said the S-76A rescue helicopter, which departed from the Edwin Andrew Air Base (EAAB) at 12:33 p.m. was heading for Jolo, Sulu, to pick up a patient when it crashed in Upper Manggas, Lantawan.
He said the patient was intended to be taken to the Camp Navarro General Hospital for medication.
The cause of the crash has yet to be determined and that an investigation is underway, he added.
“Troops of the 4th Special Forces Battalion are at the crash site” located at a rubber plantation in Manggas, Lantawan, he said.
The S-76A is an American medium-size commercial utility helicopter, manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. Teofilo Garcia, Jr with reports from Ely E. Dumaboc and Salvador A. Santiago / PNA – northboundasia.com