SEVEN military personnel were killed when their Philippine Air Force (PAF) helicopter crashed Saturday afternoon in Bulonay, Bukidnon.
This was confirmed by Philippine Air Force (PAF) spokesperson Lt. Colonel Aristides Galang.
The fatalities were identified as Lt. Colonel Arnie Arryo, native of Zamboanga City, pilot; his co –pilot 2Lt. Caabay; crews Sgt. Stephen Aggarado and certain Sgt. Bersabe.
Also killed were a soldier and two Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) militiamen.
Galang said the ill-fated UH-1H helicopter with tail # 517 crashed at around 2:30 on Saturday while on a resupply mission in Bulonay.
The helicopter from the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing encountered a mishap in the area while conducting resupply mission for the 8th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army along with another UH-1H.
Members of the 8IB rushed to the crash site to secure the aircraft and the ill-fated aircrew and passengers.
The Philippine Air Force immediately sent an investigation team to determine the cause of the mishap.
Galang also assured the public, that all of its air assets, including the UH-1H, undergo strict, regular, and redundant maintenance inspections before and after flight missions.
He said the men and women of PAF led by its Commanding General Lt. Gen. Allen T.Paredes deeply grieve and extend sympathies to the families of the brave heroes who have offered their lives in the line of duty.
Galang added that the PAF will also provide all necessary assistance and financial aid for the bereaved families
ALL PAF AIRCRAFT GROUNDED
Following the incident, Galang said all aircraft of the Philippine Air Force were immediately grounded and would undergo inspection.
Galang said the measure is standard operating procedure after incidents involving their aircrafts.
“After ng insidente na ‘to, as an SOP, automatic po ‘yan, iga-ground po muna natin ‘yung mga aircraft. Hold muna po sa paglipad,” he said in a radio interview.
The PAF’s UH-1H helicopter crashed near Bukidnon’s Barangay Bulonay after the aircrew attempted to crash-land the aircraft.
According to 4th Infantry Division spokesperson Major Rodulfo Cordero Jr., the chopper experienced “engine trouble.”
However, Galang said the cause of the incident is still not clear.
“Sa ngayon po, hindi pa po natin masasabi kung ano po talaga ‘yung cause of incident” he said.
“Hindi po malinaw po kasi kung ano ang report na binibigay sa atin kaya po tayo magpapadala ng mag-iimbestiga para malaman po natin kung ano po ang cause ng insidente,” he added.