28 April 2011
S-211 PAF patrol over Snake Island, Palawan (photo : PFB-Timawa)
A Philippine Air Force trainer plane crashed in the shoreline of Bataan, killing one person, a military official said.
Armed Forces' Northern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Gaudencio Pangilinan said the S-211 plane crashed at Banawang village near the Stela Mariz Beach resort, moments after it took off from an undisclosed area around 2:32 a.m.
The ill-fated aircraft was being piloted by Maj. Ephraim Gatus Suyom and one identified only by his surname, De Leon.
Suyom was valedictorian of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) class of 1997.
"[The] aircraft disintegrated upon impact," Pangilinan said. "One confirmed dead, identification still for confirmation."
He said elements of the Army's 24th Infantry Battalion are now on site, security the crash site.
Col. Gregorio Catapang, commander of the Army’s 703rd Brigade, said the plane was totally wrecked. "They (Army troops) are securing the area. They are retrieving the dead…The retrieval operations are ongoing," he said.
He said one body was already recovered at the site but they are not in the position to identify him.
The Air Force has yet to issue a statement on the circumstances of the incident and its possible cause.
In July last year, an S-211 plane crashed while engaged in a training exercise in Conceptcion town in Tarlace. The two pilots were unharmed as they were able to eject from the totally-wrecked plane before hitting the ground.