PAF search and rescue chopper crashes in Basilan

Aviation Updates Philippines – On Wednesday, a Sikorsky S-76 Search and Rescue helicopter of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) crashed in the town of Lantawan, Basilan, killing four: two pilots and two crew members.

The helicopter, operated by PAF's 505th Search and Rescue Group, was on a flight from Zamboanga to Jolo, Sulu, when it figured in a crash. According to a report from the Associated Press, the flight was supposed to airlift troops wounded during Jolo's August 24 suicide bombings.

In a report from, Colonel Domingo Gobway, commander of Joint Task Force Basilan, confirmed that the S-76 helicopter was no. 202 under the 505th SRG. 

As of the moment, Philippine authorities are still determining the cause of the fatal crash. However, a report from ABS-CBN cited Lantawan municipal administrator Tahira Ismael saying there was a "strong" gust of wind and "heavy" downpour before the incident.

The 505th SRG is the primary unit responsible for aerial search and rescue operations supporting the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and other civilian agencies.

File photo from Gerard Belvis, PPSG - DVO