Missing engine of ill-fated Robredo plane found-A A +A
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
MANILA (Updated 4:08 p.m.) -- Technical divers finally spotted on Tuesday the missing right engine of the Piper Senece plane that crashed off Masbate last August 18, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said.
The twin-engine plane crashed into the sea about 300 to 500 meters away from the Masbate City airport. Killed in the accident were two of its pilots and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo.
Commodore Joel Garcia, PCG-Bicol commander, said the engine was located around 12:42 p.m. while the funeral ceremonies for Robredo were being held in Naga City.
Garcia said they hope to recover the engine within the day despite the strong current at the deep Ticao Channel in Masbate.
Once recovered, the PCG will turn the engine over to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap), which is investigating the crash, Garcia said.
Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas II has ordered a thorough investigation on the incident. Roxas asked Caap Director General William Hotchkiss III to conduct the probe involving Aviatour Air, the operator of the ill-fated plane.
Caap formed a composite team to serve as the Aircraft Accident Investigation and Inquiry Board, headed by Captain Amado Soliman, an aviation industry expert in flight safety for over four decades; Captain Ramon Flores; and Captain Elmer Pena.
Caap said the right engine of the plane should be carefully lifted.
"The engine is a key part of our investigation. This will determine if indeed it was due to technical or mechanical problem that caused it to fail," Hotchkiss said.
Last week, authorities had a hard time locating the wreckage of the plane because its emergency location transmitter (ELT) failed to function on impact.
Hotchkiss said that prior to the accident, the Piper Seneca plane's ELT was functioning well when his office conducted regular routine check.
An ELT is a plane device that automatically activates when a plane encounters emergency landing or any disaster. Caap last checked the plane's ELT on November 21, 2011, and is valid for operation within a year.
Robredo’s body was retrieved last August 21, three days after the crash. The body of pilot Captain Jessup Bahinting was recovered the following day, while the floating remains of Nepalese co-pilot Kshitiz Chand was found last August 23. (Sunnex/PNA)