The Cessna plane with six people on board that went missing in Isabela province two months ago has been found with no survivors, the Isabela Incident Management Team said Thursday.
Lawyer Constante Foronda, head of the management team, said the team was able to confirm this after the wreckage of the plane was found yesterday following weeks of search operations.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines confirmed this, saying through spokesperson Eric Apolonio: “The CAAP has received information that the Cessna aircraft that went missing in Isabela on 24 January 2023 has been found.”
The Philippine Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Center reported that the wreckage of the Cessna 206 aircraft was found around 11:46 a.m. by composite teams from the Armed the Forces of the Philippines at the Dumagat tribe living in the hills at Barangay Ditarum, Divilacan.
Foronda told GMA News they would bring down the bodies of the plane’s pilot and six passengers once they get clearance from local police crime laboratories and Scene of the Crime Operatives.
Parts of the plane were scattered around the area where it crashed, Engr. Ezikiel Chavez of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Officer (MDRRMO) of Divilacan town. Clothes believed to be from the people onboard were seen hanging from trees, he said.
The rescue teams described seeing first a seat from the airplane, then scattered parts, and clothes—apparently from the victims—hanging from trees. One body was discovered without a head, Chavez added.
The CAAP said the official confirmation on the present condition of the aircraft will come from the Aircraft Accident Investigation and Inquiry Board (AAIIB) investigators on the ground.
“If the aircraft sighting is indeed that of the missing Cessna, the family of the passengers will be informed first before it is released publicly as the information is considered confidential under the Data Privacy Act,” Apolonio explained.
The C206 plane failed to arrive at Maconacon Airport when it left Isabela’s Cauayan Airport at 2:15 p.m. on Jan. 24. Its pilot last contacted the air traffic controller at 2:19 p.m. while it was over the Naguilian Bridge. It was expected to land in Maconacon at 2:45 p.m.
Bad weather conditions hampered the series of search and rescue operations for Cessna 206 with tail number RP-C1174 for two months.
The government also sought assistance from both Japan and Hong Kong Mission Control Center using their SAR Satellite-Aided Tracking system to review and evaluate any possible distress alerts received relative to the search area.
The CAAP also extended the hours and early opening of Cauayan Airport for the SAR operations, and the continuous close monitoring and coordination with concerned government units and agencies.
Ground search units were equipped with beacons during their search operations as rains hampered land search operations.
Air traffic controllers earlier initiated a “communication search” after the plane did not respond half an hour after it was supposed to land at a remote airstrip.