Search continues for missing Cessna 340 plane passengers

Manila, Philippines – Despite hazards facing the rescuers, the search and rescue operations continues today to locate for the missing passsengers of the ill-fated Cessna 340A plane at the Mayon Volcano in Albay.

“Our priority is still search and rescue as we hope for possible results later today,” said Dr. Cedric Daep, Chief of Albay Provincial Safety, Emergency, and Management Office.

Declared missing for five days now were the plane pilot, Capt. Rufino Crisostomo Jr., his crewman Joel Martin and two Australian passengers, Simon Chipperfield and Karthi Santanan.

Cessna 340A’s wreckage is located 6,500 feet above sea level, just 350-400 meters away from the crater of Mayon Volcano.

As of 12:30 pm today Camalig Mayor Caloy Baldo said that the search and rescue team is approximately less than 900 meters from the crash site.

A total of 28 responders are trekking the slopes of the volcano composed of six Bureau of Fire Protection – Special Rescue Force (BFP-SRF), 9 mixed Mountaineers, eight from the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) three from the Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) Philippines, and two local guides.

But they have to move cautiously due to several risks, including loose and steep terrain, the bad weather that could impede the ground search, and the possibility of a phreatic eruption considering the volcano is under Alert Level 2 as per the Philippine Institute of Volcanology & Seismology (PHIVOLCS).

Meanwhile, Baldo the operation’s ground commander, emphasized that the operation also places a high priority on protecting the lives of rescuers who had to go up on the slopes of Mayon as they consider flexible execution of plans in order to avoid risking further casualties.

In Tuesday’s briefing, Daep said they are not discounting the possibility that the four missing victims, including the pilot are still alive.

Earlier in a statement, Albay Gov. Edcel “Grex” Lagman said the province could not afford to “prolong the agony not only of the families of the missing passengers but also of the rescuers and volunteers.”