Nepalese pilot found-A A +A
Thursday, August 23, 2012
CEBU CITY -- Task Force Kalihim concluded its search and retrieval operations Thursday after the remains of Nepalese co-pilot Kshitiz Chand were recovered off Masbate.
Chand's body was found floating near the crash site, wearing a white shirt with a pin of the Airline Aviator Company.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the body of Chand was found by a local fishing vessel, MV Cooperative. Chand's father confirmed the identity of the Nepalese co-pilot.
Gazmin said with the conclusion of the Task Force Kalihim's search and retrieval operation, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is taking over the crash site for its investigation.
Technical divers retrieved the remains of Captain Jessup Bahinting on Wednesday inside the fuselage of the ill-fated twin-engine Piper Seneca plane.
Divers were able to afloat the fuselage Wednesday, but Chand's remains were not found.
President Benigno Aquino III, who was informed of the developments, commended the Task Force for doing a good job, Gazmin said.
The defense secretary also assured Chand's family that the government will help in the immediate return of the remains to Nepal.
The twin-engine Piper Seneca plane carrying the late Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo crashed in the waters off Masbate late afternoon of August 18.
Government led by President Aquino immediately launched a massive search and rescue operation.
Robredo's aide Senior Inspector June Paolo Abrazado survived the crash.
On Tuesday, technical divers located the fuselage of the ill-fated Piper Seneca plane located 800 meters from the shores of Masbate and at a depth of 180 feet.
Divers also retrieved the remains of Robredo on Tuesday.
Retrieval operations for the remains of Bahinting and Chand were delayed on Wedneday due to strong underwater current in Masbate.
Bahinting was retrieved late afternoon of Wednesday. His remains were flown to Cebu City Thursday.
Also on Wednesday, the Bahinting's company aircrafts 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.(Sunnex)