A rookie policeman died while two police pilots were seriously injured when a helicopter owned by the Philippine National Police (PNP) crashed in Real town of Quezon on Monday morning, Feb. 21.
Brig. Gen. Roderick Augustus Alba, chief of the PNP-Public Information Office, said Patrolman Noel Una died while being revived during a rescue operation at the crash site Barangay Pandan in Real.
Ona was the last of the three persons taken out of the crashed chopper as he was reportedly pinned on the rubbles.
The two others, Police Lt. Col. Dexter Vitug, pilot; and, Police Lt. Col. Michael Melloria, co-pilot, were airlifted from Quezon to the PNP General Hospital at Camp Crame for treatment.
Brig. Gen. Roderick Augustus Alba, chief of the PNP Public Information Office, said the helicopter, an H125 Airbus with registry number RP-9710, was earlier reported missing after taking off at 6 a.m. from the Manila Domestic Airport in Pasay City. The crash was reported to have occurred at around 8 a.m.
“The PNP chopper was en route Northern Quezon on an administrative mission,” said Alba in a statement.
As soon as the location was confirmed to be at approximately 30 kilometers from the town proper of Real,, rescue teams from the local police and other goverment rescue units were sent to the area and rescued the three policemen.
Alba said that based on the initial investigation, there was a bad weather condition in the crash site area on Monday morning.
“The PNP National Headquarters has grounded the entire fleet of H125 Airbus Police helicopters,” said Alba.
He added that the PNP is now coordinating with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and other government agencies for the conduct of a thorough investigation.