The recovery of the Nepalese co-pilot, the last missing victim of the tragic air crash, ended Thursday when his body was found floating in the waters off the crash site.
The retrieval of the aircraft wreckage and all the bodies of the crash victims which included the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) of the Philippines' Jesse Robredo, officially ended the week-long search and rescue operations.
Secretary Jesse Robredo was on board a private chartered aircraft which took off from Cebu on its way to Naga City when the six-seater Piper Seneca aircraft he was riding developed engine trouble and crashed into the waters of Masbate City Saturday afternoon.
It was reported the pilot tried to land the airplane at the Masbate airport but it reportedly overshot the runway by around 300 meters and crashed into the sea at about 4 p.m. Saturday. Read more.
The first victim to be retrieved was the body of the DILG secretary on the second day of the crash followed by the pilot, Jessup Bahinting on the fifth day and his Nepalese co-pilot on Thursday.
The last victim to be retrieved was the body of Kshitiz Chand, the Nepalese co-pilot of the Piper Seneca aircraft. He was identified by the father and brother who were waiting in Masbate City, according to Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.
“With this development, we shall now conclude the search and rescue operations,” Gazmin said
, adding that the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) will take over the investigation of the crash.
“We condole with the family of Secretary Robredo, Jessup Bahinting, and Kshitz Chand. May they find all the strength in this time of bereavement,” said Gazmin.
The body of the DILG secretary was brought to the Archbishop Palace in Naga City, where he served as Mayor for 18 years, for public viewing. His remains will be brought to Malacanang Palace in Manila for state funeral ceremonies on Friday.