GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines - An unidentified aircraft crashed on Sunday, June 14, in a mountainous area near Esperanza town in Sultan Kudarat, the state-run Philippine News Agency reported.
Esperanza Mayor Helen Latog said that residents of Sitio Dapulan in Barangay (village) Margues saw the plane explode in mid-air before crashing. Latog dispatched a rescue team composed of a doctor, 5 nurses, rescue personnel and police and military officers.
Rescuers are still trying to locate the aircraft’s crash site as of posting time.
Captain Mark Soria, commander of the 33IB’s Bravo company, said that rescuers initially heard an explosion at around 11:15 a.m. from their base in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao.
Earlier reports tagged the aircraft as a regular commercial passenger airplane but the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said that no commercial flights fly over the suspected crash site.
The aircraft, believed to be a chartered flight, was reportedly carrying 4 to 6 passengers.
Air assets were immediately mobilized but the search operation was hampered by low visibility in the mountainous area. Rescuers will continue operations in the morning of June 15. - Allen V. Estabillo, PNA/Rappler.com
(This is a developing story.)