Saudi envoy sends help to search for missing aircraft

MANILA Saudi Arabia Ambassador Abdullah Al Bussairy sent personnel to help in the search and retrieval operations involving the missing Beechcraft Baron 55 trainer aircraft, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said on Wednesday.

The aircraft went missing after taking off from the San Jose Airport on May 17. Capt. Jose Nelson Yapparcon and student pilot, Abdullah Alsharif, a Saudi Arabian, are both missing.

In an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), CAAP spokesperson Eric Apolonio said they wanted the Saudi government to see what is happening on the ground.

"They (embassy) sent some personnel to check the ongoing investigation, and to provide support in the search and retrieval operations," he said.

Last May 20, CAAP reported that the wreckage of the missing aircraft was found some 43.52 km. south of the Mindoro Strait. About six pieces of debris were found.

However, Apolonio, on Wednesday, said CAAP could not assume that the debris found were actually from the Beechcraft Baron 55 trainer aircraft.

"The team found the pilot's bag last May 20. It contained the pilot's identification card. However, we had no proof that the debris found were from the missing aircraft," he remarked.

Operator can't be suspended

Meanwhile, when asked if operator Orient Aviation Corp. was suspended, Apolonio said CAAP could not suspend it since there is no evidence that it had violated anything.

"We don't have an evidence. Our accident investigators have not seen the wreckage, or any debris that belongs to that specific aircraft," he pointed out.

According to Apolonio, even if the plane went missing for several days now, the operator could not be suspended because "there are no findings yet".

"It is the operator who initiates the search operations. We (CAAP) just provide support," he added. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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