The Interior Secretary of the Philippines Jesse Robredo is missing after the small plane he was traveling on plunged into the sea.
BBC and Reuters report that two others are also missing following the incident. Police have stated that the search for the plane and its missing crew was called off because the police at this time can't operate in the dark and the deep water area where the plane went down.
Mr. Robredo was to fly to his hometown in the central province of Camarines Sur from Cebu. However his small Cessna aircraft malfunctioned en route and the pilots tried to divert towards the nearest airfield on Masbate island. Witnesses say the plane plunged into the water about 500 meters away from the runway. Mr. Robredo's police escort was rescued by fishermen in the vicinity and subsequently transported to a nearby hospital. They have reportedly only suffered minor injuries.
The two pilots however are still missing along with Mr. Robredo.
The country's military spokesperson Col. Generoso Bolina has stated that, "There was an engine problem so they sought permission to make an emergency landing at Masbate, but the plane did not make it there and crashed."
Mr. Robredo was in Cebu to oversee a group of civilian volunteers who are helping with police work in the area. The 54-year-old is a close ally of the country's current President Benigno Aquino.