Two PAF pilots killed in plane crash

The SF260TP is a highly maneuverable and fully aerobatic basic trainer aircraft of the PAF that serves as a light attack combat aircraft

PILAR, Bataan — The Philippine Air Force reported on Wednesday that two of its officers were killed after the SIAI-Marchetti SF-260TP trainer/light attack turboprop aircraft they were on crashed in a rice field in Bataan.

PAF spokesperson Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo disclosed that the two pilots — whose identities are still being verified — were conducting “recurrency training,” adding that the plane crashed in Barangay Del Rosario in Pilar town at about 10:34 a.m.

“We confirm that it is one of our Air Force aircraft, the SF-260TP aircraft was from Sangley Cavite, it was on a ‘recurrency training’ and that there were two pilots involved. Unfortunately, we cannot give details more than that, the investigation is ongoing,” Castillo said.

She added that the aircraft was assigned to the 15th Strike Wing, which is based at the Danilo Atienza Air Base in Sangley Point, Cavite.

All SF-260TP aircraft in PAF service are grounded while the investigation into the crash is ongoing.

Meantime, Bataan Police director Col. Romelle Velasco said that after the crash, personnel from the Pilar Police and the Army’s Second Mobile Force responded to the crash site and found the bodies of the two pilots.

Witnesses told Daily Tribune that they heard a loud explosion before the plane nose-dived, then a thick smoke billowed from the rice field.

In a later statement, the PAF said the ill-fated SF-260TP aircraft has a tail number 701 and took off from Major Danilo Atienza Air Base in Sangley Point, Cavite City to perform recurrency/training flight around 10 a.m.

“At around 10:40 a.m. the aircraft was reportedly seen to be descending to a field in Sitio Tabon, Barangay Del Rosario, Pilar, Bataan where it eventually crashed. Two PAF pilots perished in the mishap while no civilian casualties were reported. Our aircraft accident investigation team are already at the site for a thorough investigation, while our SF-260TP fleet has been grounded,” it added.

The SF260TP is a highly maneuverable and fully aerobatic basic trainer aircraft of the PAF that serves as a light attack combat aircraft. It was used during the Marawi siege and various combat missions of the PAF.

It is capable of performing close air support, battlefield air interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, persuasion flight, armed escort, maritime patrol, air cover, flare drop, forward air controller, and aerial demonstration.

“The PAF enjoins the public to join us in condoling with the bereaved families as we further request to refrain from spreading unconfirmed/ unofficial news and pictures about the incident. The PAF assures that all necessary aid, assistance, and support will be provided to them,” it added.

“Further, inspite of this mishap, the Command assures that we will continue to perform our usual mandate to provide air support for focused military operations and disaster response,” the PAF added.

In other developments, members of the Isabela Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council is conducting an emergency meeting for the resumption of its search for the Cessna Plane that reportedly went missing after taking-off from the airport of Cauayan City, Isabela.

The Cessna plane with tail number RPC 1174 bound to Maconacon, Isabela failed to reach its destination on 24 January 2023. The last contact with the plane’s crew according to the air traffic control on duty was in Naguillan, Isabela area.

The pilot of the Cessna plane was identified as Capt. Eleazar Mark Joven. Five passengers were also identified as Tom Josthle Manday, Val C. Kamatoy, Mark Eiron K. Siguerra, Xam K. Siguerra and Josefa Perla Espana.

Initial reports said that at 2:15 p.m. of 24 January, the plane took off from Cauayan City Airport. The ATC on duty said that the plane was monitored at around 2:19 p.m. in the area of Naguilian, Isabela.

It never reached Maconacon.

An aerial search was conducted but the team was not able to find the missing aircraft.

With Aldwin Quitasol

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