AUTHORITIES located on Sunday, February 19, 2023, the wreckage of Cessna 340A, which was reported missing on Saturday, February 18, in Camalig, Albay.

The crash site was found “6,500 above feet,” or approximately 350 meters from the crater of Mayon Volcano, said Albay Representative Joey Salceda in a Facebook post.

Camalig Mayor Caloy Baldo also confirmed this on Sunday, saying “the aircraft reportedly crashed on the upper part of Barangay Quirangay, along the Anoling gulley, just 350 meters away from the crater of Mayon Volcano.”

The Cessna 340A was carrying four people on their way to Manila when it went missing.

Onboard the plane were Captain Rufino James Crisostomo Jr. (pilot), Joel Martin (mechanic) and Australian nationals Simon Chipperfield and Karthi Santanan.

They have yet to be found.

Baldo said the wreckage was found more than 32 hours after the plane was reported missing after taking off from Bicol International Airport in Daraga, Albay on Saturday.

“Cessna 340A was supposedly bound for Manila yesterday morning (February 18) when it was reported unresponsive at around 6 a.m. yesterday, opting LGU-Camalig to alert barangays and mobilize responders, along with the augmentation of various government and private agencies,” said Baldo.

He added that authorities are currently investigating the crash site “to map out factors that led to the recent incident in town.”

The authorities have not halted the search and rescue operations, saying they will only declare the operations as “search and retrieval” when bodies are found.

“Tuloy po ang search and rescue operations. Hindi tayo susuko kasi buhay ng tao ang concerned dito,” said the mayor.

(Search and rescue operations continue. We will not give up because human life is concerned here.)

“With augmentation support from national agencies, the team is set to closely coordinate with the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) considering the risks posed by Mayon Volcano’s present Alert Level 2 status,” he added.

Salceda, in a Facebook post, said Sunday that the search and rescue team, which is composed of 16 Bureau of Fire Protection Special Rescue Force with their two K9 search and rescue units and along with two personnel each from the Philippine National Police and Philippine Army, was on its way to the crash site.

“According to them, one to one 1/2 hours more, they will reach the alleged crash site. They are now experiencing a hard entry because of the terrains,” he said. (LMY)