Body of Nepalese co-pilot found in Masbate waters

Posted at 08/23/12 8:34 AM

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE 3) – Authorities on Thursday recovered the body of Nepalese co-pilot Kshitiz Chand from waters off Masbate.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the pilot's father identified the body.The body was reported to be wearing a white uniform with aviation pins.

The defense chief said a fishing boat discovered the body floating near the crash site of the ill-fated Piper Seneca plane, which crashed in the sea last Saturday.The body was then brought to a Navy gunboat and brought to shore where it was identified.

Last Saturday's plane crash killed 3 people including Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo,  Captain Jessup Bahinting and Chand. Only Robredo's aide, Jun Paolo Abrasado, survived the crash.

Robredo's body was recovered from the plane Tuesday, while Bahinting's body was recovered yesterday after the downed plane was lifted from the water.

Gazmin said he has not spoken to Chand's family about possible financial assistance. He said Capt. Bahinting's family is speaking to Chand's relatives.

Gazmin said Task Force Kalihim will no longer be conducting retrieval operations after finding the Nepalese co-pilot's body.

He said the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines will be conducting an investigation on the possible cause of the plane crash. The plane's right engine has yet to be recovered from the seabed, he said.