Missing heli found: three dead, burned beyond recognition

**update: Malacanang confirms there were no survivors in the crash.**

The missing helicopter was found in Tinoc town in Ifugao province on Wednesday, with three bodies burned beyond recognition. The report on the casualties differ, but mainly because the official line is only three are dead so far. There are reports that two more bodies have been found, one inside the helicopter and another outside, but Malacanang said they were still verifying this.
“The official count is three,” said Ifugao governor Teddy Baguilat. He said he had heard reports that two more were found, but he did not have additional details. It is feared, however, that there are no survivors.

For those who are interested, here are notes on Wednesday’s presscon around before lunchtime, just before the wreckage and the bodies were found. For background only. Words in parentheses are questions.
During the press conference, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said the Philippine government asked the US embassy for help in looking for the missing presidential aides, while the National Disaster Coordinating Council said it would be using thermal imagers in its search and rescue operations for the missing chopper.

Ermita briefing: (latest report with regards to missing chopper) as you said, latest report being that search and rescue opns on since dawn this morning. Even last night we have been receiving reports from local police forces from what they got on the ground. All airforce assets available in area…all helicopters they have…Fokker plane dispatched in general area bec capability of detecting if signal…indeed came from wreckage site. There is full operation by phil air force. I wish that we can reserve some of the questions for the air force representative. I request that usec tony golez to join me because he’s deputy head of ndc…running operations center in camp aguinaldo..

Golez: since last year, our pres had a program with sec gilbert teodoro to upgrade capabilities of ndcc. One programs is equipment to detect kung may nabubuhay o tao sa ilalim ng rubble or areas na madilim. Nagpa-dispatch sa utos ni sec teodoro…thermal imagers…using infrared…kahit maulap ang lugar makikita kung may gumagalaw o nakatigil na tao. Wreckage dahil sa init ng wreckage. On the way sa phil air force base operations ang personnel…papunta na sa area na kanilang pinaghahanap.

Ermita answers: (have we received any initial info if in area of benguet, ifugao) hindi pa malaman. You can just imagine as of now, in between baguio city and lagawe, the areas in between. I would rather that we get more details from the air force representative.

(pres’l chopper gagamitin dapat ni gma going to benguet) that’s a backup chopper. In loakan airport…there are always two or three choppers backup for president.

(us giving assistance) about 9am got call from romulo. Romulo told me he would inform me personally if us embassy would tell him what kind or if they are going to assist, what kind of air assets they have. Desire to assist 100% sure, sure they are helicopters, and technical equipment in their helicopters.

Gen. gamad: (chief operations of PAF) as of this time we have ongoing search operations in baguio. We have 2 choppers airborne trying to search suspected areas…pinpointed by Fokker…suspected emissions from emergency location transmitter. Negative sightings as of this time. on part of us gov’t ..one aircraft about to take off from zamboanga but not yet arrived in clark. Hope arrive before noon.

(mentioning negative sightings…reports of crashed chopper as of 9:15). Actually we have received a lot of reports about sightings. Marami iba-ibang locations. As of now we have sent search helis in the area but so far wala pang positive developments on this report…from different sectors and civilians. As of this moment wala pang positive sighting.

(wondering why thermal imagers were deployed just now and not last night) golez: first of all the thermal imagers just arrived from the us. Most recently. People supposed to handle that to be trained by next month pa sana but one personnel knowledgeable on that and able to get in touch and now en route to baguio.
(can use on board plane) definitely…can approximate image of person to 300m. beyond 300 meters just animal or person. But since they are going on foot patrol, able to view even during night time.

(what kind of us aircraft) gamad:

(physical constraints faced by rescuers) golez: need to know flight plan. Terrain, with regards to foot patrols or rescuers, expecting to engage on weather, terrain…climate. Heard the miners are also there who are helping out.

Ermita: hoping…not big crash, caught up on top of tree level…hoping to do rescue as fast as possible. Every minute counts…all these are being done in haste so that we can locate, conduct immediate rescue and first aid.

Gamad: still hoping for best. Continuing doing search in area five aircraft…as exec sec said hoping for best.

Gen. rabena: there is an ongoing search operations conducted somewhere in mt tinoc…somewhere in vicinity of mt pulag…but we will get word from pilot as soon as they return from this mission. We are getting information from very concerned citizens and we are passing this information to the head of search effort.in case of air search, col. Paliso. We have requested the us for support in terms of conduct of search and rescue and their ch46 is already on its way to loakan. It’s very similar to…single propeller. Operated by us marines can carry about 10 combat wounded…
On way to baguio. Estimate time of arrival 1200 hours.

(chances of survival) cannot really categorically say chances…depend on place where they are now…just hope everything will be okay. Not received reports yet on actual status of aircraft.

(any signal picked up from chopper) some signals from…emergency transmitter last night. Around 10pm to 11pm. Able to pick up signal presumably coming from elt….northeast of baguio city but this morning when we dispatched our helicopters the search turned out to be negative didn’t see heli in that area. Had to go further north, northeast. We have not pinpointed any area where the heli is, we are still searching and verifying. Flying those areas where citizens have reportedly pointed out where helis could be.
(kind of heli) uh-1h. we’re using uh 1h and also the Blackhawk.

(sino dapat magbigay info) ermita: remonde being press sec, point of contact will be giving periodic announcements about status. Hindi natin maipagaalis there are people who will be talking…defense…local…

(thermal imagers…planning to use also canines…dispatched any) golez: with regards to sniffing dogs…don’t know if pnp has dispatched…part of overall concerted effort of ndcc…importante ngayon sa lahat e sightings ng local sa lugar, sa gabi, the thermal imagers.

(may isa sa pasahero nagri-ring ang phone) wala po kaming natanggap na ganyan..based on experience, marami na ring experience ang ndcc…guinsaugon..albay, maraming lalabas na balita na natawagan…ng vinerify lahat ng reports negative. We will expect those kinds of info but check each and every kind of info…

(other pres’l choppers di pagagamit muna) rabena: yeah. talked with commander of pres’l airlift wing…stand down of…

(so wala munang byahe) there are other aircraft pa naman…

(officially rule out there was sabotage) definitely we have ruled out angle.

Point of departure sa loakan okay naman weather…perhaps the weather on route…konting deterioration ng weather. Perhaps they decided not to push through…

(standard operating procedure…flight plan) yes merong flight plan kasama ang pagdetermine ng highest…alternate just in case…

(official list of those onboard chopper) pilot maj ronaldo sacatangay, Alvin aligata. The crew is staff sgt perez…and the passengers are gen carlos clet, frostrum, capadocia, bandayunan and…sgt. Reyno.

Ermita: got info pres cancelled her schedule today. Monitoring in mansion house progress of rescue operations. No schedule today.

(tuloy pangulo visit sa thai) not gotten word if there are changes in schedule. Expected to leave 230pm Friday. Original schedule, have to verify.

(details of activities in thai) furnish through ops. Request golez to get hold of that from pms and also from protocol office.

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