Wreckage of Philippine plane found with all 6 aboard dead

CAUAYAN, Philippines (AP) — A Philippine search team guided by sniffer dogs on Thursday found the wreckage of a single-engine plane that crashed on a mountain more than a month ago and confirmed that all six people on board were dead, officials said.

The Cessna 206 plane went missing after taking off Jan. 24 from Cauayan city in northern Isabela province with a pilot and five passengers en route to Maconacon town on what should have been a 45-minute flight.

Rain, winds and rough mountain terrain hampered the weekslong search, and it may take at least three days more to recover the remains of the victims, officials said.

Constante Foronda of Isabela’s disaster response office said the families of the victims, who were all Filipinos, have been notified of the discovery of the wreckage. “They’re very sad but at least they now have closure,” he told reporters.

The crash was among a series of accidents involving small aircraft in the country in recent months.

An air and sea search by Philippine authorities backed by the United States and Malaysia is continuing for a helicopter carrying five people, including a patient and a nurse, which went missing last week in western Palawan province, officials said.

All those aboard are Filipinos except for the nurse, who is American, said Eric Apolonio, the civil aviation agency’s spokesperson, citing a report from a rescue coordination center.

Last month, a plane carrying two Australian energy consultants and two Filipino crew members crashed on the slopes of Mayon volcano after taking off from Albay province on its way to Manila, killing all those aboard, officials said.

The wreckage was found after a high-risk search by authorities and mountaineers on the slope of one of the country’s most active volcanos.

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