US Embassy to help in search of missing plane, student pilot in Aurora

THE United States Embassy yesterday granted Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s  request for assistance in finding the missing plane and its pilot  believed to have crashed in the mountain ranges of Aurora on July 28.

Locsin sought the assistance of the Embassy through his social media page in finding the missing plane and its pilot.

“We need help. A missing plane and pilot dropped into dense mountainous jungle in Baler, Aurora 14 days ago.

“We need a special satellite image that can penetrate the jungle to detect plane’s aluminum. CAAP (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines) has no capability whatsoever in this weather for this mission.

“One more day and it won't be search & rescue but search & recovery of cadaver. Please US help,” Locsin Twitted, tagging  the Twitter account of the US Embassy in the Philippines.

In response, the Embassy said Washington is ready to assist as a “friend, partner, and ally” to the Philippines.

“(The US Embassy in the Philippines) is ready to assist. We’ve been in touch with Philippine authorities to determine what assistance is needed and how we can help,” it said.

The missing Cessna C-152 plane, piloted by 25-year-old Aaron Dizon,  was supposed to have landed in Clark after it left Baler on July 28.

The aircraft, owned by Omni Aviation Corporation, was one of the five planes that took off from San Luis town in Baler.  However, only four managed to land in Clark.

Meanwhile, combined  forces of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), the Philippine Air Force (PAF), Philippine Army (PA)  and other volunteers continue to search the vicinity of Aurora.  

CAAP said the PAF immediately dispatched a Huey helicopter to continue the search  for the missing plane after the weather cleared yesterday.

“No aerial operations were conducted by PAF last Saturday and previous days due to  bad weather condition in the area,” CAAP said.

CAAP added that at least 300 personnel are now conducting ground search operation at the reported site where a shining metal was seen on the face of the mountain opposite the bridge of Villa Maria Aurora, Quezon. Diwata satellite was also being used in the search operation . 

With  Willy M. Balasa