MANILA, Philippines – The Aquino administration has intensified its efforts to find missing Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo and two others after the plane crashed off Masbate waters Saturday afternoon.
Authorities said at least 25 sea vessels from the Philippine Coast Guard, the Navy, Air Force, Philippine National Police, and from the local governments were now involved in the search and rescue operations which resumed early Sunday.
They were searching in an area about a kilometer from the shore, the Philippine Daily Inquirer said.
A two-kilometer stretch of the coastline of the Masbate Bay has also been cordoned off to allow search and rescue volunteers to scour the coastline for the missing Robredo and the two pilots.
The two pilots were identified as Capt. Jessup Bahinting and Nepalese Kshitiz Chand.
Meanwhile, Coast Guard units from Legaspi, Matnog, Buluan and Masbate sent additional assets and personnel, including civilian volunteers, were expected to arrive in the area early Sunday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said.
A command post was also established at the Lasala Beach Resort.
Philippine Air Force spokesman Colonel Miguel Ernesto Okol told INQUIRER.net that five helicopters, including its most modern assets, three Sokol and 2UH1H, were also enroute to Masbate to help in search and rescue.