PAF orders safety check, grounds all Sikorsky-76A aircraft after Basilan crash

Marje Pelayo   •   September 17, 2020   •   291

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Air Force (PAF) will conduct a maintenance inspection on all of its S-76A aircraft after of one of its units crashed in Barangay Manggas, Lantawan town, Basilan on Wednesday (September 16).

Air Force Public Affairs Office Chief Lt.Col Aristides Galang said they have sent a team of investigators to Basilan to determine what could have caused the incident.

“In response to the unfortunate incident, the PAF will be conducting prompt maintenance inspection of all S-76A aircraft as a standard procedure in events such as this,” he said.

“A team will also be sent to the area to conduct further investigation of the said mishap.” he added.

The bodies of all four Air Force personnel who died in the crash were also transported to Zamboanga City. 

Information from the Armed Forced of the Philippines West Mindanao Command said the fatalities include pilot Major Jessie Miller, his co-pilot Lt. Mack-Ar Ferrer, aircrew Staff Sgt. Miguel Banas and Airman 2nd Class Benedicto Leal Jr.

PAF has extended its sympathies to the families of the victims.

“With utmost respect, the PAF headed by its Commanding General, Lt. General Allen Paredes extends its deepest and sincerest condolences to the bereaved families,” Galang said.

The aircraft crash landed on a rubber plantation owned by Lantawan Vice Mayor Nasser Abubakar, allegedly due to inclement weather.

The team was bound for Jolo, Sulu for an emergency medical evacuation of their comrades who were wounded in the August 24 bombing. They were supposed to transfer them for further treatment in Zamboanga City. MNP (with details from Lea Ylagan)

AFP looks at pilot error and mechanical failure as possible causes for helicopter crash in Basilan

Marje Pelayo   •   September 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Investigators in the fatal helicopter crash in Basilan are looking at three possible reasons for the tragedy.

Pilot error, inclement weather and a possible engine failure are among possible causes that authorities are considering. 

The Sikorsky-76A Rotary Wing Rescue helicopter was on its way to Basilan to fetch the soldiers who were injured in the August 24 twin bombing. 

According to the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WESMINCOM) Spokesperson Lt.Col. Alaric delos Santos, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) is sending today an inspection and investigation team to the crash site to find additional information on how the incident happened.

“Titingnan po nila lahat ng factors katulad ng human factor o kaya mechanical factor o kaya’y weather factor and lahat,” Delos Santos said.

Information from the Armed Forced of the Philippines West Mindanao Command said the fatalities include pilot Major Jessie Miller, his co-pilot Lt. Mack-Ar Ferrer, Staff Sgt. Miguel Banas and Airman 2nd Class Benedicto Leal Jr.

Sikorsky-76A helicopters are the most common among aircrafts that the PAF utilizes for humanitarian missions serving as air ambulances. MNP (with reports from Val Villaflor)

Troops pay tribute to PAF crew killed in chopper crash in Basilan

Robie de Guzman   •   September 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Air Force (PAF) crew who were killed in a helicopter crash in Basilan were accorded with military honors at Edwin Andrews Air Base in Zamboanga City, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Thursday.

AFP Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Jr. led the send-off ceremony, and was joined by other military officials and personnel.

“Team WestMinCom commiserates with the family of the fallen airmen who dedicated their lives in serving their fellow Filipinos,” Vinluan said.

The military identified the fatalities as Maj. Jessie Miller, 1st Lieutenant Mack-ar Ferrer, SSg Miguel Banas Jr. and Airman 2Cl Benedicto Leal, Jr.

The four were killed after their chopper crashed in Lantawan, Basilan on Wednesday afternoon.

Three of the four PAF crew were given with departure honors before their remains were airlifted to Manila.

The body of Leal, meanwhile, will be transported to his hometown in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay.

“Our salute to Maj. Miller, 1Lt. Ferrer, SSg. Bañas, and A2C Leal for their gallantry and heroism,” Vinluan said.

“They may be physically gone but their unfailing service will remain in our hearts forever,” he added.

Authorities earlier said the probe into the crash is underway. Investigators are looking into pilot error and mechanical failure as among the possible causes of the incident.

The Philippine Air Force has grounded all its inventory of Sikorsky S-76A helicopters for safety check following the fatal crash.

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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)

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