Cessna plane in the Philippines: rescuers search Mount Mayon after finding wreckage of missing plane

Hong Kong

Filipino authorities on Monday launched a search operation at the top of the restless volcano after finding what was believed to be the wreckage of a missing plane carrying two Australians, a Filipino pilot and a crew member.

A six-seat Cessna 340 aircraft was en route to the capital Manila when it lost contact with air traffic control on Saturday after taking off from Bicol International Airport in Albay province, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said.

The two Australians, Simon Chipperfield and Carty Santanam, were technical consultants working for Energy Development Corp., a Manila-based geothermal firm, the company said in a statement.

“It’s been the fourth day since they went missing and given the terrain and harsh weather, this is a complex and challenging situation…we continue to hope and pray that we find them.” – Allan Barsena, Assistant Vice President companies. the president and spokesman, told CNN on Tuesday.

The company said in a statement that its rescue team found debris at an altitude of about 6,000 feet (1,823 meters) near Mount Mayon last erupted in 2018.on Sunday.

Authorities are still working to get to the wreckage and verify it belongs to the missing aircraft, CAAP spokesperson Eric Apolonio told state television PTV on Monday.

“We only have aerial photographs – drone shots – but we cannot confirm that this is the same aircraft. Our investigators need to see the actual crash site on the ground,” Apollonio said.

“We have to find the plane first before we can determine what caused the crash.”

The wreckage is close to a “permanent hazard” and a designated “no-fly zone” around the volcano, he said, and rescue teams have received permission from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology to begin high-risk search operations. . Heavy rain and the danger of landslides made the search difficult.

Rescuers prepare to search for a missing Cessna in Albay Province, Philippines.  20, 2023.

More than 200 people, along with 34 vehicles, 11 drones and four K9 dogs, were deployed in a joint search and rescue operation to reach the plane in a remote volcano, according to a state-run Philippine news agency.

When Mount Mayon last erupted, it erupted torrents of ash and lava, forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of villagers. The most destructive volcanic eruption occurred in 1814, when at least 1,200 people died.

This was stated by the Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, HKYu. on twitter that the embassy is in contact with the Philippine authorities and is providing consular assistance to the families of two Australians.

“Unfortunately, we know that two Australians were reportedly on a light aircraft that disappeared from Albay Province in the Philippines on Saturday, Feb. 18,” Yu said. “Our thoughts are with the families, friends and loved ones of all those affected.

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