Rescuers search for crash survivors in Philippines

Published February 21st, 2023 - 10:24 GMT
Albay crash

ALBAWABA - Filipino rescuers are searching for survivors in the slopes of an active volcano after their small plane crashed near the crater on the weekend.

The pressurized twin-engine airplane, Cessna 340, was carrying four people, including two Australians, when it disappeared Saturday morning. The plane went off the radar shortly after departing for the capital Manila from Bicol International Airport in the central province of Albay, on the path of the Mayon volcano.

However, civil aviation investigators discovered Tuesday that the debris seen near the volcano was of the missing plane.

Manila Energy Development reported that it owned the aircraft. It said the Australian passengers worked as technical advisers to the renewable energy company.

Mayon was under the second lowest level of the five-step volcano eruption warning system as of Tuesday, meaning that some gas emissions and falling rocks were detected.

Police dogs as well as search and rescue teams began to collapse, including professional mountaineers, in a difficult climb on foot.

One of the mountaineers helping with the rescue, George Cordovilla, has climbed Mayon several times and described it to AFP as a challenging ascent.

"It can easily erode and cause rock to fall even if there is no eruption, some are caused by wind, water or rain," he noted.

The same aircraft model of Cessna disappeared twice before in the Philippines: The first time was on Jan. 24, when it vanished from the radar and was never located.

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