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Cessna plane crashes in Philippines, search underway for four on board

By Agence France-Presse Published Feb 19, 2023 5:36 pm Updated Feb 19, 2023 7:00 pm

A small plane with four people on board crashed in central Philippines where rescuers were searching for survivors on Sunday, Feb. 19, an aviation official said. 

The Cessna 340 aircraft went missing early Saturday morning, Feb. 18 shortly after departing for Manila from Bicol International Airport, south of the capital, at 6:43 a.m., the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said in a statement. It was slated for arrival in Manila at 7:53 a.m., but it was unresponsive by 6:46 a.m.

The plane was carrying two passengers, a pilot, and a crew member, the aviation regulator added. 

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Camalig Mayor Caloy Baldo said that the aforementioned plane reportedly crashed on the upper portion of Barangay Quirangay.

"Authorities are still conducting search and rescue operations as the four passengers, Pilot Capt. Rufino James T. Crisostomo Jr., crew Joel G. Martin, and two Australian passengers, Simon Chipperfield, and Karthi Santanan, have yet to be found," the Philippine STAR reported.

The aviation accident comes less than a month after another Cessna plane went missing on Jan. 24 in the northern province of Isabela. A search for that plane's wreckage is still ongoing, said CAAP spokesperson Eric Apolonio.

In a separate incident, two Philippine airforce aviators were also killed in a training exercise last month when their SF260 Marchetti plane plummeted onto a rice paddy in Bataan province, near Manila. (AFP)