MANILA – The Philippine Air Force (PAF) confirmed that the pilot of the McDonnell Douglas MD-520 “Defender” attack helicopter died from Tuesday morning’s crash in the town of Getafe in Bohol.
“He is the pilot-in-command,” PAF spokesperson Lt. Col. Maynard Mariano told reporters.
The name of the fatality was withheld pending notification of his next of kin.
Meanwhile, his co-pilot and two other crew members survived the mishap and are undergoing treatment in a medical facility in Talibon town.
“Members of the PAF 505 Search and Rescue Group, the 47IB (Infantry Battalion), and the Bohol PDRRMO (Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office) rushed to the crash site to immediately rescue members of the aircrew who were brought to the nearest hospital for proper medical attention,” Mariano said.
The ill-fated aircraft with tail number 410 is from the PAF’s 15th Strike Wing.
The accident happened around 9:30 a.m. while the crew was on an engineering flight.
He added the men and women of the PAF, led by its commander Lt. Gen. Allen Paredes, deeply grieve the loss of an aircrew in the line of duty.
“As of this writing, families of the involved personnel are being informed of the incident. We request that while this is being done, all concerned will be sensitive to the families involved. The PAF will provide all necessary assistance and financial aid for the bereaved family,” he added.
Mariano said the PAF has ordered the grounding of the entire MD-520 attack helicopter fleet.
He added that all of its air assets are undergoing strict, regular, and redundant maintenance inspections before and after flight missions.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) also condoled with the family of the fatality.
“AFP Chief, General Cirilito Sobejana is saddened by the report of the demise of one of our Philippine Air Force (PAF) pilots who succumbed in a crash landing of a PAF MD-520 helicopter today, 27 April 2021 in Getafe, Bohol. We send our sincerest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues as we offer our support in any way we can,” AFP spokesperson, Marine Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement.
The PAF is set to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident. Priam Nepomuceno / PNA – northboundasia.com