By Roy Mabasa
The United States is ready to assist the Philippine government in locating a Cessna-152 aircraft and a student pilot that went missing since it left Baler Airport on July 28, the US Embassy in Manila said on Sunday.
“@USEmbassyPH is ready to assist. We’ve been in touch with Philippine authorities to determine what assistance is needed and how we can help,” Press Attache Heather Fabrikant posted on the US Embassy’s social media account.
The US Embassy was initially responding to a request made by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. over Twitter asking for the United States’ help.
“We need help. A missing plane and pilot dropped into dense mountainous jungle in Baler, Aurora 14 days ago. The PH Army/Air Force – on it from get go but resources stretched with weather & Batanes – say rightly @DFAPHL must request USMarinesCorps. My OAA (Office of American Affairs) has requested,” Locsin said.
The DFA secretary suggested that the Philippines need a “special satellite image” that can penetrate jungle to detect plane’s aluminum, saying that the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has no capability whatsoever under the current weather condition.
“One more day and it won’t be Search and Recovery of cadaver. Please help us,” Locsin pleaded.
As of this writing, the CAAP has not received a report from the search and rescue team.
Earlier reports said the male student pilot went missing after the training plane, owned by Omni Aviation Corporation, took off from Baler Airport for a supposed Clark.- Baler –Clark route.
The pilot was able to land in Baler but failed to go back to Clark, the CAAP said.
Philippine Air Force (PAF) initially conducted a search and rescue operation its operations on July 29.