AN OFFICER of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Monday that they are still puzzling over the claims of a midair explosion of an aircraft at the mountain boundary of Esperanza and Bagumbayan towns in Sultan Kudarat last Sunday.
Captain Jo Anne Petinglay, spokesperson of the 6th Infantry Division (ID), said there were no confirmations or sightings.
"As of today (Monday), wala pa tayong confirmation na may debris na natagpuan na galing sa reported airplane na nagcrash. Basta ongoing pa rin ang aming search operation sa area," Petinglay told Sun.Star Davao in a phone interview Monday afternoon.
"But we are not discounting the private aircraft angle. Kadalasan kasi ng mga aircraft na dumadaan dyan ay international flights. Pero sa ngayon wala namang na-ireport na nawawalang flights din," she added.
Units from 601st Brigade and Infantry Batallions (IB) are still deployed in the hinterland areas of Leebak, Bagumbayan, and Esperanza to conduct continuous search operation.
"Patuloy pa rin tayo sa pagsasagawa ng search operation. Tumigil lang tayo kagabi kay hindi na accessible yung areas,' Petinglay said.
"Wala pa ring confirmation kung debris ng eroplano ba talaga yung nakita ng mga witnesses. But we will not stop with our search operation," Petinglay added.
However, Petinglay admitted that they are still clueless on what kind of crash site and debris they are looking for.
"Mahirap talaga lalo na kapag hindi mo alam kung ano talaga ang hinahanap mo," Petinglay said.
She said that the local government unit in nearby areas is still deploying their emergency units to assess the situation.
In a separate report of BomboRadyo GenSan Monday morning, the operations of the Philippine National Police (PNP) along with units from AFP and rescue teams in Barangay Salumping, Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat when they found nothing.
Senior Inspector Tirso Pascual, chief of police of Esperanza PNP, in the report said their units also stopped their operation after failing to locate anything.
Pascual added that they did not locate any crash site in the area of Barangay Salumping.
However, he assured that they will resume with their search operation if the report of a plane crash will be confirmed.
Petinglay, for her part, said they are still identifying the exact location of the reported crash site with the help of the witnesses in the area.
"Hindi kasi consistent yung binibigay nila na location eh. Paibaiba sila ng area na tinuturo. May sa Lebak, may Bagumbayan, and may Esperanza," Petinglay said.
The National Aeronautic and Space Administration (Nasa), in a report from Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI), said that its satellite, which is expected to enter the Earth's atmosphere on Tuesday (June 16) did not cause the reported plane crash incident in Sultan Kudarat last Sunday noon.
"The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) is still in the orbit. It is not possible that TRMM is the source of this event," Nasa said on the report.