Divers retrieve pilot’s remains-A A +A
Thursday, August 23, 2012
CEBU CITY (Updated) - A flower drop and a fly-by of several light planes are being planned to honor Captain Jessup Bahinting, whose body was retrieved Wednesday in Masbate.
His brother, Orson Bahinting, identified the pilot’s body. Nepalese co-pilot Kshitiz Chand remains missing.
The Cebu City Council approved on Wednesday a resolution expressing its sympathy to the families of Captain Bahinting and Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo.
“We join our fellow Filipinos as the entire nation deeply grieves for the loss of one of the most highly respected and credible leaders the country has ever had,” the resolution drafted by Councilor Alvin Dizon read.
It also commended Bahinting for “several heroic acts”, including his role in saving the life of a Cebu City zoo worker two weeks ago. Bahinting sent one of his airplanes to Camiguin Island to pick up the anti-venom needed to treat the worker’s snakebite.
The flower drop, said Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, was suggested by Bahinting’s colleagues and the instructors and students of Aviatour Air, a charter airline where Bahinting served as chairman and chief executive officer.
Rama learned of the proposal when he visited Bahinting’s family in their home in Barangay Cansojong, Talisay City last Tuesday.
On Wednesday, however, the company’s aircraft were grounded, pending an investigation by a government panel.
Bahinting had nearly four decades of flight experience under his belt. He was also a pastor and a regular presence in disaster relief operations.
“Despite spending lots of money and gas, he would take his plane and deliver relief goods in areas where disaster struck. It’s not a common thing for an ordinary man to do,” said Talisay City Vice Mayor Alan Bucao.
The Talisay City Council will pass two resolutions extending their condolences to the Bahinting and Robredo families.
Bucao said that last Friday, he drafted a resolution commending Captain Bahinting for his efforts in delivering the anti-venom that saved Cebu City Zoo keeper Ronron Aventurado. The resolution would also have mentioned Bahinting’s work in disaster relief operations.
But just as he finished drafting the first resolution, Bucao found that that the person they were to commend had been in a plane crash.
Bahinting’s family lives in Barangay San Isidro, Talisay City.
Bucao has also asked Supt. Eddie Recamara of the Talisay City Police Station to provide a police detail at Bahinting’s house and ordered the City of Talisay Traffic Operations and Development Authority to man the traffic there, in preparation for visitors who want to comfort the family.
Mayor Rama, in a separate interview, said he instructed City Traffic Operations Management Board chairman Sylvan Jakosalem, who is also a pilot and a friend of Bahinting, to arrange the flower drop.
Captain Bahinting’s body was found after 5 p.m. Wednesday and was brought directly to Funeraria Eterna.
The search will continue for Nepalese student pilot Chand. It was earlier reported that the bodies of the two pilots were found inside the cockpit of the plane.
However, the body of Chand is nowhere to be found inside the wreckage, which is lifted and now secured near the shore.
Authorities have yet to devise a plan to locate the missing pilot as they continue their search operation on Thursday.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, who is monitoring the retrieval work, said he remains hopeful that the divers will locate and recover Chand.
Bahinting’s body, his brother said, will be brought to Cebu today, Thursday.
In an earlier interview with Sun.Star Cebu, Bahinting’s wife Margarita said the wake will be held for three days at St. Peter Funeral Homes in Cebu City, followed by a two-day wake in Ginatilan town.
Bahinting initially begged off from flying the secretary last Saturday, because he and Margarita had made plans to visit their beach resort project in Ginatilan.
The captain was born in Larena, Siquijor, but grew up in Sibulan, Negros Oriental and studied aviation in Davao City. He became a pilot in 1970. (His company’s website states he finished a commercial pilot’s course in 1975.) He worked with Philcox Philippines, which was tasked to check the facilities of the then Board of Air Transportation, now the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.
In 1997, he opened his flying school, now Aviatours. He also expanded its services to include aircraft charters, aerial tours and air ambulance. (EOB/PDF/With JKV of Sun.Star Cebu/Sunnex)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 23, 2012.