The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has launched search and rescue operations for a civilian helicopter that went missing in the province of Quezon, Monday afternoon.
The Philippine Air Force has already dispatched a W-3A Sokol chopper, with a number of soldiers on board, to look for the missing helicopter, said Lt. Col. Ramil Anoyo, Commander of the 48th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.
According to Anoyo, the four-seat helicopter of Macro-Asia Company may have crashed northwest of the Sumag River.
AFP reports indicate that the downed helicopter, with a body number of RP-C2688, was headed to Gen. Nakar, Quezon, to pick up emergency responders who had tried to rescue miners buried in debris after the collapse of a tunnel that was being built in the area.
Officials said that the last contact with the pilot of the chopper was after 5pm, some three kilometers away from the river.
Based on reports, the chopper left the MWSS compound in Norzagaray, Bulacan around 12 noon, but did not make it to its supposed arrival of 4 p.m.
Col. Anoyo identified the pilot as Ret. Airforce Colonel Miguel Loronio and the co-pilot as Jay Gregorio.
Meanwhile, Anoyo said that six people have been confirmed dead while one survived in the collapse of the Sumag-Umiray River tunnel being built by the MWSS.
(with DZRH Florante Rosales)