Businessman Levy Laus, 2 others die in Bulacan chopper crash

Robie de Guzman   •   April 25, 2019   •   11095

MANILA, Philippines – A Pampanga-based businessman and two companions were killed when the helicopter they were riding crashed into a fishpond in Malolos, Bulacan Thursday afternoon, police said.

According to a report by Nestor Torres in UNTV News and Rescue’s Ito ang Balita program, the victims were identified as businessman Liberato “Levy” Laus, his bodyguard Wilfran Esteban, and pilot Captain Everette “Eder” Coronel.

Laus, who headed the conglomerate Laus Group of Companies, was declared dead on arrival at the Bulacan Medical Center. Esteban died in the hospital.

Laus, 68, was a well-known personality in Pampanga. He was also the chairman emeritus of the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said the chopper was bound for San Fernando, Pampanga when it plunged into a fishpond in Barangay Anilao in Malolos at 12:47 p.m.

CAAP said the helicopter took off from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) General Aviation Hangar at 12:28 p.m.

The chopper, which bears the body number RP C8098, was owned and operated by LGC Air Transport.

An eye witness told UNTV News and Rescue team that prior to the crash, the helicopter seemed to be looking for a landing site around 12:45 p.m. He also recounted the moments when the ill-fated chopper plunged to the ground.

“Dumiretso na sila bumulusok, pagtama nila dyan sa palaisdaan sumabog ng malakas,” Gerry Borlongan said.

“‘Yung pinto nila naghiwa-hiwalay kasama yung mga sakay na tumilapon sa lakas ng pagsabog,” he added.

Other eye witnesses said the aircraft was billowing black smoke before it crashed.

The chopper’s wreckage was later found half-submerged in the pond.

CAAP investigators are now probing the possible cause of the incident.

“Sa ngayon ang ang ginagawa namin nire-recover na namin itong mga pieces ng aircraft. Sa ngayon hindi pa namin alam eh [sanhi ng insidente] pero nakapag-interview na kami ng mga witness,” said CAAP investigator Harry Faradero. – Robie de Guzman

4 killed in military chopper crash in Basilan

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2020

Four people were killed after a rescue helicopter belonging to the Philippine Air Force crashed in Lantawan town in the province of Basilan on Wednesday.

Authorities said the bodies of the casualties have been recovered by the members of the 4th Special Forces Battalion dispatched to conduct a search and rescue operation at the crash site.

Initial investigation showed that the chopper, believed to be flying from Zamboanga City to an unknown destination, crashed in a rubber plantation in Barangay Upper Manggas in Lantawan around 1 p.m.

Authorities said the chopper went down during a bad weather but investigation into the cause of the incident is ongoing.

They are also verifying the identities of the fatalities and whether they were all Air Force personnel. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Val Villaflor)

4 PAF personnel dead after helicopter crash in Isabela

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 24, 2020

Four members of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) perished in a helicopter crash in Cauayan City, Isabela on Thursday (July 23).

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said five personnel were onboard the Huey Helicopter. They were conducting proficiency training for night flying in the vicinity of the Tactical Operations Group-2 area in Cauayan City when the accident happened.

“The two pilots, the other officer, and one of the two aircrew perished. The other airman survived the crash and is now undergoing treatment,” the AFP said in a statement.

The names of the victims are withheld until their relatives have been notified, the AFP added.

Meanwhile, AFP Chief General Felimon Santos, Jr. expresses deep grief and extends condolences and prayers to the families and colleagues of the airmen who perished in this air operations mishap. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

Pilot in Kobe Bryant helicopter crash may have become disoriented in heavy fog – NTSB

UNTV News   •   June 18, 2020

The pilot of a helicopter that crashed in foothills near Los Angeles, killing basketball great Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and all seven others on board, likely became disoriented in the fog, federal investigators said on Wednesday (June 17).

The National Transportation Safety Board report said pilot Ara Zobayan told air traffic controllers that his helicopter was climbing, when in fact it was descending shortly before slamming into a hillside outside the community of Calabasas on Jan. 26.

The NTSB said that pilots can become confused over an aircraft’s attitude and acceleration when they cannot see the sky or landscape around them, causing “spacial disorientation.”

“Without outside references or attention to the helicopter’s attitude display, the actual pitch and bank angles have the potential to be misperceived,” the NTSB said.

The findings came in a “public docket” released by the NTSB as it investigates the crash. The agency has not yet released its final report. (Reuters)

(Production: Omar Younis)

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