By Aaron Recuenco
A private plane with nine people on board crashed in a private resort in Calamba City in Laguna on Saturday afternoon, with police saying a loud explosion and fire immediately followed the crash.
There were nine bodies that were already recovered from the plane wreckage.
Col. Eleazar Matta, director of the Laguna Provincial Police Office, said two people believed to be either guests of the private resort or local residents were injured as a result of the explosion and fire. They were identified as 19-year old John Rey Roca and 49-year old Malou Roca.
Matta said the cadavers of all those on board were retrieved at around 8 p.m. after hours of search from the rubbles in a private pool where the plane had crashed at around 3 p.m.
Based on the initial investigation, Matta said that the private plane, an 11-seater King AIR 350 with tail number RPC 2296, was on a medical air evacuation.
“The plane came from Dipolog City in Zamboanga del Norte for medical treatment in Manila,” said Matta.
The initial coordination disclosed that aside from the two pilots, there were six people on board that include a doctor.
He identified them as pilot Capt. Jesus Hernandez, his co-pilot First Officer Lino Cruz Jr., Dr. Garret Garcia, nurses Kirk Eoin Badilla and Yamato Togawa, Ryx Gil Laput and Raymond Bulacja.
Also recovered were the cadavers of Tom Carr, the patient being airlifted from Mindanao to Manila, and his wife Erma.
The plane reportedly crashed at the Agojo Private Resort located in Purok 6, Miramonte Subdivision in Barangay Pansol.
Barangay Pansol is popular for private resorts.
Lt. Col. Chitadel Gaoiran, the spokesperson of the CALABARZON (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas Rizal, Quezon) regional police, said the plane was seen flying towards Mount Makiling before the crash.
“As per witnesses, smoke was seen suddenly covering the plane. The pilot attempted to maneuver the plane back, but unfortunately, it crashed on the area,” said Gaoiran.
Gaoiran said police teams were sent in the area to conduct search and rescue operations.