San Mariano, Isabela – A rescue helicopter of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) has successfully located the wreckage of a missing general aviation Piper aircraft in San Mariano, Isabela. According to a PAF statement released on Tuesday, the Sokol helicopter located the missing Piper Plane RPC 1234 at 8:05 a.m. on December 5, 2023, in Barangay Casala. Despite challenging conditions, including strong winds and growing fog preventing the helicopter from landing, the crew was able to communicate the crash site’s location to ground units.
According to Philippines News Agency, The PAF mentioned that the search efforts involved not only the Sokol helicopter but also a civilian R-44 aircraft from Lion Air. Ground search parties, comprising personnel from the Philippine Army, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection, and municipal disaster risk reduction management office units from Palanan, San Mariano, and Divilacan, are proceeding to the site with Dumagats as guides.
Isabela Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head, lawyer Constante Foronda Jr., indicated that aerial rescuers are formulating a strategy for Wednesday, while ground teams are trying to reach the crash site on foot. The missing aircraft, carrying Capt. Levy Abul and a passenger, lost contact after departing from Cauayan City Airport on November 30. The PAF has committed the availability of its parajumpers and additional rescue helicopters from the 505th Search and Rescue Group for a potential helicopter rescue when weather conditions permit.