The Philippine Air Force SAR helicopter crashed in bad weather conditions. The four occupants were fatally injured.
The casualties include 2 pilots and 2 crew members assigned at PAF’s 505th Search and Rescue Group, Air Force spokesperson Lt. Col. Aristides Galang Jr. told TeleRadyo.
The Sikorsky helicopter took off from Zamboanga City around 12:30 p.m., bound for Jolo, Sulu for a medical evacuation mission when it crashed in Barangay Upper Manggas in Lantawan town around an hour later, Galang said.
There was a strong gust of wind followed by a heavy downpour before the incident, according to Lantawan municipal administrator Tahira Ismael who confirmed the aircraft crashed in the town’s jurisdiction.
The bodies of the four onboard, one of whom a female, were recovered from the crash site.
In a separate interview, Galang said the aircraft was supposed to transport to Zamboanga City some personnel who were wounded during the Aug. 24 suicide bombings in Jolo.
In a statement, PAF extended its deepest condolences to the families of the personnel killed in the crash.
“With utmost respect. the PAF headed by its Commanding General. Lt. Gen. Allen Paredes extends its deepest and most sincere condolences to the bereaved families,” PAF said.
The bereaved families were also immediately informed of the incident, it added.
Due to the incident, PAF said it will be conducting prompt maintenance of all S-76A aircraft.
A team will also be sent to the area to conduct further investigation.