PAF pays tribute to fallen airmen in Bukidnon chopper crash

Published January 17, 2021, 8:38 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) on Sunday rendered military honors to four airmen who died in a tragic helicopter crash in Impasug-ong, Bukidnon.


The remains of Lieutenant Colonel Arnie Arroyo, pilot of the crashed UH-1H Huey helicopter; 2nd Lieutenant Mark Anthony Caabay, co-pilot; Staff Sergeant Mervin Bersabi, gunner and crew chief; and Airman 1st Class Stephen Agarrado, gunner; were flown via a C-295 aircraft from Lumbia, Cagayan de Oro City to Benito Ebuen Air Base in Mactan, Cebu.

Major General Florante Amano, Air Force Vice Commander, led the military honors and gave his final salute when the bodies of the four airmen arrived at the military airbase at around 4 p.m.


After the short ceremony, a Holy Mass was held in honor of all seven victims in the air mishap. The other fatalities were identified as Army Sergeant Julius Salvador, and CAFGU Active Auxiliary (CAA) members Jerry Ayukdo and Jhamel Sugalang.

The bodies of Salvador, Ayukdo, and Sugalang were transported to their respective hometowns in Bukidnon and Agusan del Sur, said Lieutenant Colonel Aristedes Galang, PAF spokesperson.

“The PAF, and the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] as a whole, share the grief and extend sympathies to the bereaved families and colleagues,” Galang said.

The team was supposed to bring supplies to the patrol base of the 8th Infantry Battalion when their chopper encountered an engine trouble and crash-landed in Barangay Bulonay around 2:30 p.m. Saturday.