2 Philippine navy pilots killed after a training helicopter crashes near a public market and homes

CAVITE, Philippines (AP) — A Philippine navy training helicopter crashed near a seaside city, killing the two pilots on board and narrowly missing a fruit market and neighborhood, where some horrified residents ran for their lives, officials and witnesses said on Thursday.

Nobody on the ground was injured when the Robinson R22 helicopter crashed near early-morning marketgoers and residents in Cavite City, 21 kilometers (13 miles) south of Manila.

Military spokesperson Col. Francel Padilla said the cause of the crash was not immediately known, but the two pilots had “executed emergency procedures.”

Joann Nicolas Laristan said she was hanging her laundry when she saw the helicopter flying unusually low near a church before it collided with two trees beside an empty workers’ shed about 50 meters (164 feet) from her home.

“I got really scared because the crash happened just nearby,” Laristan told The Associated Press. “I ran back to my home and grabbed my children.”

Other residents said they were roused from sleep by the loud noise of the crash.

Several residents expressed relief that the helicopter did not hit their homes or the nearby public market, which was starting to draw a crowd after daybreak.

Police investigator Armangel Genuino told AP the helicopter took off from Sangley Airport for a routine training flight around Cavite province and crashed less than 10 minutes later.

The instructor pilot and his navy colleague were extracted from the wreckage by paramedics and rescuers but were later declared dead in two hospitals, Genuino said.

The navy mourned the death of the pilots and said an investigation was underway.

“No stone will be left unturned as we endeavor to prevent this kind of accident from happening again,” a navy statement said.

The Philippine military is among the weakest in the region and has struggled for decades to modernize and strengthen its navy, army and air force while dealing with long-running Muslim and communist insurgencies.

In recent years, it has started to shift its focus to external defense, including in the disputed South China Sea, where the Philippine navy and coast guard have faced an increasingly aggressive Chinese coast guard and suspected militia fleets in high-seas territorial confrontations.


Associated Press journalist Aaron Favila contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up