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Missing Cessna 152 plane found in Apayao, two bodies recovered

AviationUpdatesPH.com – The exhaustive two-day search for the missing Cessna 152 training aircraft RP-C8598, operated by Echo Air International Aviation Academy, Inc., has come to a heart-wrenching end. The aircraft's crash site was located yesterday, August 3, 2023, at Sitio Matad, Barangay Salvacion, Luna, Apayao.

Crash site of RP-C8598. Photo from CAAP.

The Cessna 152 aircraft, under the command of a seasoned Filipino flight instructor and carrying a student pilot from India, departed from Laoag International Airport at 12:16 PM on August 1, 2023. The aircraft's planned route included stops at Cauayan Airport and Tuguegarao Airport, with an anticipated touchdown at Tuguegarao Airport at approximately 3:16 PM. However, the aircraft's final position report was transmitted around 1:00 PM on the same day, placing it approximately 32 nautical miles northwest of Alcala, Cagayan.

A multi-agency search and rescue (SAR) operation, orchestrated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), various local government units (LGUs), and dedicated civilian volunteers, culminated in the discovery of the crash site. Regrettably, the SAR team uncovered two bodies at the scene, believed to be the occupants of the ill-fated Cessna 152 aircraft.

Prompt action was taken by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) in response to the incident, saying: "CAAP has suspended the operations of the aircraft's operator, Echo Air International Aviation Academy, Inc., while the investigation is ongoing."

This proactive measure aims to ensure safety while facilitating an in-depth investigation into the circumstances that led to the crash.

Leading the investigation is the CAAP Aircraft Accident Investigation and Inquiry Board (AAIIB). Investigators from the AAIIB are already at the crash site, meticulously sifting through debris and collating crucial information in an effort to piece together the puzzle of this unfortunate event.

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