• Melo Acuna

Investigation into the fatal chopper crash now going on

UH-1H chopper crash leaves four Air Force personnel dead

MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines confirmed the air mishap involving a UH-1H helicopter early Thursday evening which left four Philippine Air Force personnel dead and one injured.

AFP Spokesman Major General Edgard Arevalo said the helicopter crashed shortly after take-off at about 6:58 P.M. Thursday in the vicinity of Tactical Operations Group – 2 area in Cauayan City in Isabela province, northern Philippines.

General Arevalo said the military aircraft with five personnel onboard was on a proficiency training for night flying when the mishap took place.

The four fatalities were the pilot-in-command Major Christopher Cesar A. Urbano, Co-pilot Capt. Fiorelio D. Bernardo, another officer on board, 1Lt. Mike Tuesday T. Tabigne and crewmember SSgt. John Christopher R. Taguiam.

The lone survivor was identified Airman 1st Class Gerry S. Aviles, Jr. who is currently confined at a local hospital.

Major General Arevalo said the AFP Chief of Staff General Felimon Santos, Jr. expressed deep grief over the incident and extends condolences and prayers on behalf of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to the families and colleagues of the personnel who perished in the air operations mishap.

“General Santos said he will help facilitate the assistance and other entitlements due the personnel who died in line of duty,” Major General Arevalo added.

Meanwhile, Albay Second District Congressman Jose Sarte Salceda fondly remembers Capt. Fiorelio Bernardo for having taken part in relief and rescue operations while assigned in Legazpi City.

At the Department of National Defense, Spokesperson Director Arsenio R. Andolong said as the Department expresses its deepest sympathies to the next of kin of the Philippine Air Force personnel who died in the helicopter mishap in Isabela Province, the Philippine Air Force is investigating the cause of the incident. He added all possible assistance will be extended to the next of kin of those who perished. (Melo M. Acuña)

Official Seal of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. (AFP Website)

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