Malaysia joins search for missing chopper in Palawan

Malaysia joins search for missing chopper in Palawan

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Palawan – The search and rescue operation for the “Yellow Bee” chopper and its five passengers that went missing in Balabac town of this province on March 1 has extended to the Malaysian territory, the Philippine Adventist Mission Aviation Services (PAMAS) said on Monday.

Philippine Coast Guard-Palawan District Commander, Capt. Dennis Labay, said in a phone interview Tuesday morning they are still conducting “search and rescue since we have not yet [exactly] pinpointed the crash site” even if the chopper has been missing for seven days now.

“Although there is a possible crash site identified through aerial surveillance, what we will do is check the area using the sonar and if something is detected, a group of volunteers will dive to verify,” Labay said.

PAMAS also said in its Facebook post that the Philippine Aviation Rescue Coordination Center (PARCC) has made coordination with its Malaysian counterpart in Kota Kinabalu.

“The Malaysian government then deployed five vessels and three aircraft including a C130 “to conduct search by air and water in Malaysia today,” the post said.

PAMAS also confirmed the arrival of a volunteer team and their equipment on Monday to conduct sonar imaging at the possible crash site of the chopper, around 35 nautical miles east of Balabac island.

“We’re so thankful for Lau Dagum, a friend who was willing to come at the last minute with this very useful equipment! We hope this will help us find answers to the potential crash site,” the post stated.

Dagum is from Antipara Explorations that does underwater mapping and analytics. She is currently attending PhD studies on marine science.

Wendy Harris, also from PAMAS, confirmed that the team has started its sonar scanning in the area.

“They left this morning for the possible crash site,” Harris said in a text message.

The company also confirmed that the pair of shoes found by personnel of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO) of Balabac belongs to Janelle Alder, the medical evacuation nurse who was one of the passengers of the aircraft.

The missing chopper owned by PAMAS was on a medical mission, airlifting a patient from Mangsee Island to be brought to a hospital in Brooke’s Point town, Palawan when it went missing. (Genesis Medina/PNA)

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