(23-Aug-2012/PNA) – The body of Kshitiz Chand, co- pilot of the ill-fated Piper Seneca plane that crashed Saturday, was recovered in the waters off Masbate by a passing motorboat Thursday morning.
Ensign Chibar Bullos, Naval Forces Southern Luzon information officer, said the crew of the M/B Cooperative sighted Chand’s body around 7:45 a.m. while enroute to Masbate City.
The boat came from San Jacinto, Ticao Island.
Bullos said M/B Cooperative immediately turned over the body to BRP Hilairo Ruiz (PG-378) at around 9:20 a.m.
The ship is one of the four Navy vessels involved in the retrieval operations off Masbate waters. It is one of the naval assets of Task Force “Kalihim”.
Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin said the body was positively identified by relatives of the victim.
“The body was positively identified by the father and brother to be that of the co-pilot. With this development, we shall now conclude the search and rescue operations,” the DND chief added.
He also took this opportunity to thank the crew of the motorboat for their assistance.
The body of the pilot, Captain Jessup Bahinting, was recovered from the wreckage of the plane Wednesday night while Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo’s body was recovered Tuesday morning.
The Piper Seneca airplane they were riding was said to have encountered engine trouble while on its way to Naga City from Cebu and called Masbate airport to make an emergency landing.
It however failed to make it to the runway and crashed some 500 meters from the airport.
Robredo’s aide-de-camp, Senior Inspector June Abrazado, was the sole survivor of the crash.
He managed to escape after the plane crashed into the water and sank. He was later rescued by a passing fisherman who witnessed the mishap.(PNA)