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Timeline Provided for Bukidnon Chopper Incident

Robinson R44 II helicopter
The Robinson R44 II helicopter operated by Philippine Adventist Medical Aviation Services (PAMAS) which had an emergency landing at Sitio Babahagon, Lantapan, Bukidnon on July 27, 2023.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), through its Aircraft Accident and Inquiry Investigation Board (AAIIB) said it is providing a timeline on the recent helicopter incident that occurred on July 27, 2023 at around 10 a. m. in Bukidnon.

CAAP spokesman Eric Apolonio said the incident involved a Robinson R44 II helicopter operated by Philippine Adventist Medical Aviation Services (PAMAS) and piloted by a CAAP-validated license holder.

At approximately 9 a.m. on the said date, the Robinson R44 II helicopter departed from PAMAS Airstrip located within the MVC complex in Valencia City, Bukidnon. The purpose of the flight was to pick up passengers at Brgy. Bantuanon, Lantapan, Bukidnon, who were scheduled to participate in a skydiving activity as part of the barangay’s fiesta celebration.

The initial phase of the flight proceeded smoothly, and the aircraft safely reached the designated pick-up point. With four skydivers and the pilot on board, the flight began its ascent to the planned altitude of 8,000 ft. However, at an approximate altitude of 3,000 ft., the helicopter experienced a sudden loss of power.

Upon noticing the power issue, the pilot decided to discontinue the flight and initiate a return to the PAMAS airstrip. Unfortunately, during the attempt to return, the helicopter encountered further power loss and struggled to maintain its altitude. As a result, the pilot sought an area suitable for an emergency landing.

polo io said the aircraft had an emergency landing at a nearby banana plantation situated at Sitio Babahagon, Lantapan, Bukidnon, which was approximately 3 miles from the PAMAS airstrip. Fortunately, the pilot and three passengers safely evacuated the helicopter without sustaining injuries. Unfortunately, one passenger seated at the back of the aircraft sustained minor injuries and was promptly taken to a nearby hospital for medical attention.

The helicopter sustained substantial damage due to the collision with the plantation and ground impact. CAAP has already initiated an investigation into the incident to determine the exact cause of the power loss and to ensure that all safety protocols were followed.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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