CAUAYAN CITY (UPDATE) — The four people who died on board a Philippine Air Force (PAF) Huey helicopter which crashed at the Cauayan Air Station here on Thursday night have already been identified.
The victims were identified as Captain Christopher Cesar Urbano, the pilot in command, and Captain Fiorelio Bernardo, his co-pilot. Their bodies were retrieved from the wreckage.
The other two fatalities, also PAF personnel, were identified as First Lt. Mike Tabigne and Staff Sergeant John Christopher Taguiam.
Another passenger, Airman First Class Gerry Aviles Jr. was taken to the Isabela United Doctors Medical Center after sustaining multiple fractures.
Brig. Gen. Crizaldo Nieves, Cagayan Valley regional police chief, said the PAF men were conducting night vision goggles proficiency training at the Tactical Operations Group 2 (TOG2) in Barangay San Fermin around 7 p.m. when the helicopter crash-landed shortly after take-off.
The chopper, with tail no. 8308, belongs to the PAF’s 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing.
In a statement, the PAF said the cause of the crash was not immediately known but it already launched an investigation.
Edmond Evaristo, a villager near the crash site, said they heard loud sounds of explosion at the area followed by billowing smoke.
Initial investigation showed that the helicopter exploded as it hit the tarmac of the TOG2 ramp area.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines has deployed its personnel to investigate the incident. (PNA)