Search continues for missing co-pilot

Posted at 08/23/12 1:17 AM

MANILA, Philippines – The search and retrieval operation for the missing co-pilot in the plane crash that killed Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo will continue on Thursday, authorities said.

The wrecked plane was recovered Wednesday evening, but the body of Nepalese co-pilot Kshitiz Chand was not found inside.

“We will continue to search for the body. Well, we still hope and we will go as far as where we can if only to locate the body. Maybe it will be scaled down a bit if we do away with the retrieval in that particular area,” said Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.

The Piper Seneca plane that crashed into the sea off the coast of Masbate last Saturday was carrying Robredo, his aide Jun Paolo Abrazado, and two pilots.

Abrazado was rescued by a fisherman immediately after the crash.

On Tuesday, Robredo's body was retrieved by divers from the plane’s fuselage found at the seabed 800 meters away from the shore.

They said Robredo was retrieved first because he was near the door of the plane.

The body of the pilot, Capt. Jessup Bahinting, meanwhile, was recovered on Wednesday.

Hours later, Task Force Kalihim successfully recovered the plane wreckage.

Authorities said 3 bags were found inside the plane, and will be subject to an investigation. -- Report from Jeff Canoy, ABS-CBN News