None of the four passengers on board the Cessna 304 plane that crashed in Albay last weekend survived, according to Camalig Mayor Carlos “Caloy” Irwin Baldo, Jr on Thursday, February 23.
“No more search and rescue operation. Our operation is now focused on retrieval because we’re able to locate the passengers. They were lifeless,” Baldo said in an interview with TeleRadyo.
The bodies of all four passengers, including two Australian nationals named Simon Chipperfield and Karthi Santhanam, pilot Rufino James Crisostomo Jr., and crew Joel Martin, were found near the crash site some 6,500 feet or more than 300 meters away from Mayon volcano’s crater on Wednesday afternoon.
The small plane went missing a few minutes after it took off at 6 AM on Saturday from Bicol International Airport.
The plane’s wreckage was found a day after near Mayon’s crater, which is currently under Alert Level 2 or “moderate unrest,” according to PHILVOCS.
The rescue mission was led by Baldo, in collaboration with the Camalig Disaster Risk Office and other authorities.
Baldo added that the retrieval operation of the bodies will continue today.
Meanwhile, though the investigation is ongoing, the cause of the crash remains unclear as of press time.