Manila, Philippines – Tragedy struck on Thursday afternoon, 3 May 2017, when a Philippine Air Force (PAF) helicopter crashed in Tanay, Rizal leaving three military personnel dead and one injured.
Col. Antonio Francisco, Philippine Air Force spokesperson, told the media that at around 3:00 p.m. a military helicopter had crashed in Sitio Hiltop in Tanay, Rizal. The PAF Huey, UH-1D model, had come from Camp Capinpin in Tanay. He added that the PAF chopper was conducting air-to-ground operations with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) when it crashed while maneuvering.
The exercises were part of the disaster relief preparations with soldiers from the the 2nd Infantry Division and some police personnel from CALABARZON. Col. Francisco made clear that no dangerous maneuvers were involved that would cause the chopper to crash. He also said the chopper was airworthy, to dispel speculation that the accident was caused by problems with the aircraft. He said: “Whenever we fly our helicopters, it’s always airworthy. We make sure that before we fly our helicopters, it’s always airworthy.”
Pending the result of an investigation, all UH-1D helicopters will be grounded.
The brave men lost that day were identified as: pilot-in-command Captain Christian Paul Litan, crew chief Staff Sergeant Byron Tolosa, and gunner Airman First Class Joseph De Leon. On the other hand Command pilot 1st Lieutenant Ceazar Linas was injured and is confined at the AFP Medical Center.