All four people aboard a light aircraft that crashed in the Philippines at the weekend have been confirmed dead, authorities in the Southeast Asian country said Thursday, following a treacherous search mission atop a restive volcano.
The bodies of pilot Rufino James Crisostomo Jr., crew member Joel Martin, and Australian technical consultants Simon Chipperfield and Karthi Santhanam, have been found on Mount Mayon volcano and a team was working to retrieve them, CNN affiliate CNN Philippines reported, citing Camalig Mayor Carlos Irwin Baldo.
All four men were employees of Energy Development Corp., a Manila-based geothermal firm, according to Richard Tantoco, its president and chief operating officer.
“Our heartfelt sympathies go to their families and friends during this difficult time,” Tantoco said in a statement.
The six-seater Cessna 340 aircraft was bound for the capital Manila when it lost contact with air traffic control on Saturday after it left Bicol International Airport in Albay province, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
The wreckage was located at an altitude of about 6,000 feet (1,823 meters) on Sunday. But rainy conditions, the risks of landslides and a “moderate” volcanic unrest level complicated search efforts, according to CAAP.
An investigation into the crash is ongoing, CAAP said.