Filipino rescuers confirmed on Thursday the death of four people who were traveling in a small plane that fell over the weekend on a active volcano.
The victims, including two Australians, were aboard the Cessna 340 that disappeared Saturday morning, shortly after takeoff from Manila International Airport, in the central province of Albay, several kilometers from mayon volcano.
The remains of the plane were located last Sunday, but the rain, the clouds and the risk of a volcanic eruption affected efforts to reach the crash site, reports AFP. The rescue team, made up of experienced climbers, started climbing on foot on Tuesday.
Carlos Baldo, mayor of the municipality of Camalig, the area where the accident occurred, has indicated that the rescue team has arrived this Thursday at the wreckage of the plane and has confirmed that there were no survivors. “We found the place of the accident and there were no signs of life,” Baldo said at a press conference.
Almost 200 rescuers to lower the bodies
The mayor has stated that 179 people participated in the operation to lower the bodies from the steep slopes of the volcano. They are expected to arrive with the remains at the base of the mountain on Thursday night.
The Philippine Civil Aviation Authority said the plane’s wreckage was on the west flank of the volcano, about 1,200 meters above sea level.
“It’s a very difficult terrain”said Cedric Daep, Albay’s disaster management officer. “It’s steep and there are ridges that only one person can climb at a time.”
The plane is owned by the Manila-based Energy Development Corporation, and the Australians were technical consultants to the renewable energy company.