PILAR, Bataan — Two pilots of the Philippine Air Force died when their SIAI-Marchetti SF-260 trainer/light attack turboprop aircraft crashed into a muddy rice field in Sitio Tabon, Barangay Del Rosario here Wednesday morning.
In a message to reporters, PAF spokesperson Col. Ma. Consuelo Castillo said: “We confirm that it is one of our Air Force aircraft, the SF-260 aircraft (was) from Sangley (Cavite), it was on a ‘recurrency training’ and that there were two pilots involved. Unfortunately, we cannot give details more than that, the investigation is ongoing.”
“Recurrency training” refers to the training given to aircrew members or pilots to be proficient in a particular aircraft.
Bataan police director Col. Romell Velasco said the two pilots died on the spot in the middle of the land planted to palay.
“Nakita raw ng mga saksi na ito ay pabulusok pababa at dito nga sa kalagitnaan ng rice field bumagsak,” Velasco said.
He added that there was no more risk of explosion after personnel of the provincial disaster risk reduction management office, Pilar municipal disaster risk reduction management office and the Bureau of Fire Protection have thoroughly inspected the aircraft.
“Maliligo sana ako nang may marinig akong umuugong at nakita ko ang eroplano na bumiling- biling bago bumagsak. Bahagya na lang ang ugong at baka pumutok na iyon sa itaas bago bumagsak,” resident Danny Gallarin said. “Kinabahan din ako dahil baka tamaan ang aming bahay at umabot ito sa amin. Noong bumagsak ay tiningnan namin at matagal pa itong umuusok.”
Gallarin said he informed their barangay chairman about it and rescuers began to arrive.
Ryan Diago, a member of motorcycle patrol, said he was among the first to arrive in the crash site.
“Nakita agad ang dalawang piloto na nakadapa sa kanilang eroplano. Hindi ko gaano nilapitan dahil nag-spark pa at umuusok ang engine kaya hinintay ko muna ang BFP para ma-clear ang area bago puntahan ang dalawang biktima na dead on the spot,” Diago said.