PH Navy conducts salvage ops for crashed PAF MD 520MG helicopter in Getafe, Bohol

Robie de Guzman   •   May 5, 2021   •   78

MANILA, Philippines — A joint search and recovery operation was conducted in the waters off Jandayan Island in Getafe, Bohol where the Philippine Air Force (PAF) MD 520MG crashed last April 27, the Philippine Naval Force Central (NAVFORCEN) said.

In a statement, the NAVFORCEN said the joint salvage operation was conducted by the Philippine Navy vessel BRP Abraham Campo (PC396) and the Naval Special Operations Unit 5, in coordination with personnel from 15th Strike Wing, Philippine Air Force and Coast Guard Sub-Station Getafe.

“On April 27, 2021, BRP Abraham Campo received a call from Headquarters, NFC about a reported crash of PAF 520MG at seawaters of Getafe, Bohol and immediately proceeded to the said vicinity. Coordination made with Coast Guard Sub-Station Getafe and 47th Infantry Battalion and confirmed the identities of crew of the said aircraft. They were brought to Garcia Hernandez Memorial Hospital in Talibon, Bohol,” the agency said.

PAF earlier said that one pilot was killed while three others were injured in the crash. The helicopter went down while conducting an engineering flight but the cause is still under investigation.

“After the recovery of the crew of the ill-fated helicopter, a well-studied plan was developed for the recovery of the MG520. Upon availability of the necessary materials and equipment, PC396 launched its Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) with onboard personnel of NAVSOU5, PAF and Civilian Divers and conducted underwater search and investigation,” the NAVFORCEN said.

“Upon confirming the location of the sunken helicopter, a civilian crane barge was utilized to lift and recover the said aircraft,” it added.

The agency said the recovered aircraft was transported by the BRP Abraham Campo from Bohol to Captain Veloso Pier, Naval Base Rafael Ramos, Lapu-Lapu City and was turned-over to PAF’s Tactical Operations Wing-Central.

PAF earlier said it has grounded the MG520 fleet as it investigates the incident.

 

P7.3 million worth of smuggled cigarettes seized in waters off Zamboanga City

Robie de Guzman   •   April 30, 2021

State security forces have intercepted a watercraft carrying P7.3 million worth of smuggled cigarettes in waters off Barangay Recodo in Zamboanga City, the Philippine Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) said.

The NFWM said elements from its Seaborne Patrol Units, Navy SEALS, intelligence operatives, and members of the Philippine Coast Guard and Bureau of Customs seized the contraband that was loaded on MB Dream Boat on April 28.

The smuggled cigarettes were packed in 205 master cases and were loaded in a boat coming from Sulu.

The cigarettes bore brands like Cannon, Champion, New Far Gold, and New Far Green.

The boat had a crew of 10 who were escorted to Naval Station Romulo Espaldon.

“The crew underwent a medical check-up at Camp Navarro General Hospital and were all declared to be in good condition,” the NFWM said.

The apprehended individuals and the confiscated items were turned over to the custody of BOC Zamboanga District for proper disposition, it added.

1 dead, 3 wounded in chopper crash in Bohol – PAF

Robie de Guzman   •   April 27, 2021

A Philippine Air Force (PAF) personnel was killed while three others were injured when their helicopter crashed in Getafe town, Bohol province on Tuesday.

In a statement, PAF confirmed the aircraft mishap involving MD520MG #410 from the 15th Strike Wing that went down around 9:30 a.m. while conducting engineering flight.

PAF said the three injured aircrew members were brought to the nearest hospital to receive proper medical attention.

“Members of the PAF 505 Search and Rescue Group, the 47IB, and the Bohol PDRRMO rushed to the crash site to immediately rescue members of the aircrew who were brought to the nearest hospital for proper medical attention,” the air force said.

PAF did not release the names of the personnel involved as their families are still being informed about the incident.

“We request that while this is being done, all concerned will be sensitive to the families involved,” it said.

The air force also extended its condolences to the personnel who died in the crash.

“The men and women of the Philippine Air Force, led by the Commanding General, LtGen Allen T Paredes PAF, deeply grieves the loss of an aircrew who offered his life in the line of duty,” it said.

“The PAF will provide all necessary assistance and financial aid for the bereaved family,” it added.

In a separate statement, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Cirilito Sobejana expressed sadness over the death of one of PAF’s pilots in the incident.

“We send our sincerest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues as we offer our support in any way we can,” Sobejana said.

PAF said it has grounded the MG520 fleet as it investigates the circumstances surrounding the incident.

It also assured the public that all of its air assets are undergoing strict, regular, and redundant maintenance inspections before and after flight missions.

PH Navy’s frigate Antonio Luna docks at Port of Manila

Robie de Guzman   •   February 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Navy on Friday formally welcomed its second missile-capable frigate, called Antonio Luna (FF151), and its maiden crew in a simple arrival ceremony held at Pier 13 in South Harbor.

The ceremony was held after the warship and its crew completed quarantine period off Subic Bay, Zambales following its arrival in the country from Ulsan, South Korea earlier this month.

Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar was the guest of honor of the ceremony in welcoming the warship. He was joined by Navy officials and other guests.

The frigate has a maiden crew of 101 sailors, headed by its first commanding officer Capt. Charles Merric Villanueva.

“The arrival of frigate Antonio Luna symbolizes another remarkable leap towards modernization incessantly pursued by the Navy and whole of the AFP to better guard, protect, and defend the interest of our nation,” the Navy said in a statement.

“It also gives the vigor to serve the country and people with high spirit, great pride, and honor not only in maritime defense but also in humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations,” it added.

The ship will be the second Navy vessel to be named after Antonio Luna after the first ship – an Emilio Aguinaldo class patrol gunboat – was retired in 2016 after serving for 17 years.

Luna was a Filipino army general who fought during the Philippine-American war.

The Navy said the BRP Antonio Luna will be formally handed over to the Philippines, christened, and commissioned into service tentatively on the 4th week of March.

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