Oct 232014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/04/09MANILA753.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANILA753
2009-04-08 09:08
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO2343
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #0753 0980908
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 080908Z APR 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3782
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L MANILA 000753

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MAPS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/08/2019
TAGS: MARR MOPS PGOV PINR PREL PTER RP
SUBJECT: EIGHT FEARED DEAD IN PRESIDENTIAL PALACE HELICOPTER CRASH

Classified By: Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney, Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

¶1. (U) SUMMARY: The burning wreck of a Philippine
helicopter belonging to the Presidential Airlift Wing has
reportedly been located after going missing in the evening of
April 7 in rugged mountainous northern Luzon. The craft
carried a team of six government officials, including two
undersecretaries, plus two crew members. By day’s end, the
charred remains of at least three victims of the crash had
been located. The Ambassador remains in close contact with
senior Philippine government officials who were very thankful
for the U.S. air assets playing a vital role in ongoing
search and recovery operations. END SUMMARY.

¶2. (U) According to Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP)
authorities, a Bell 412 helicopter carrying a team of six
Malacangang Palace officials and two crewmen went missing in
the early evening of April 7. The Palace officials aboard
the aircraft were reportedly making advance arrangements for
an upcoming presidential visit. Media reports list two of
the passengers as Undersecretary Marilou Frostrom of the
Presidential Management Staff and Undersecretary Jose
Capadocia Jr. of the Office of the Press Secretary.

¶3. (U) Initial reports indicate that the helicopter departed
Baguio City at approximately 4:20 p.m. April 7, and was
scheduled to arrive less than one hour later in Banuae, in
nearby Ifugao Province, but on nearing its intended
destination was forced to turn back due to bad weather. The
Philippine Air Force, the lead agency in the search and
recovery operations for the missing helicopter, received
numerous reports from villagers along the Nueva Vizcaya –
Ifugao provincial border area claiming that a helicopter had
crashed in their vicinity. At approximately 3:30 p.m. Manila
time April 8, media began to report that the burning wreckage
had been sighted in a remote area near the village of Tinoc,
on the Benguet-Ifugao provincial border, and Arroyo
administration Chief of Staff Ed Ermita confirmed that PNP
officers had reached the helicopter’s burning crash site and
recovered the charred remains of at least three individuals.

¶4. (U) AFP personnel first alerted Embassy DAO office the
evening of April 7; Ambassador was contacted soon thereafter
by AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Alexander Yano and Agriculture
Secretary Arthur Yap. Ambassador immediately organized an
interagency crisis team including DAO, JUSMAG, JSOTF, and
others to bring in assets as soon as possible. United States
military assets are playing a vital role in ongoing search
and rescue operations. Two U.S. helicopters, which were in
country as part of the upcoming annual Balikatan bilateral
military exercise, were deployed to assist in the search.
The Mission also deployed an American military liaison
officer to the Philippine Air Force Operations Center to
coordinate operations with Philippine counterparts throughout
the night.

¶5. (C) COMMENT: The Philippine government has repeatedly
thanked the Ambassador for continued USG assistance in
ongoing search and rescue operations. Underscoring the
Philippine government’s appreciation for assistance from its
longtime ally, Philippine Armed Forces Chief of Staff General
Alexander Yano told the Ambassador, “We never have to beg you
to help us. We never have to ask you twice.”
KENNEY

   

 

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.