Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Body of Philippine minister in plane crash found

Reformist interior secretary Jesse Robredo's body pulled from wreckage off coast of Masbate province

The body of the Philippines's interior secretary, Jesse Robredo, has been found in the sea off a central province where his small plane crashed three days earlier, according to officials.
Robredo's body was pulled out from the overturned fuselage of the twin-engine Piper Seneca about 55 metres under water and 800 metres off the coast of Masbate province early on Tuesday, said the transport secretary, Mar Roxas.
Roxas said the bodies of the plane's Filipino pilot and Nepali student pilot were still inside the cockpit.
"At 7.25 this morning, our volunteer divers found the fuselage with bodies inside," Roxas told reporters in Masbate.
Robredo, 54, was heading to his hometown of Naga city on Saturday from central Cebu city, where he had met with local officials, when one of the plane's engines stalled 30 minutes into the flight. The aircraft crashed as it attempted an emergency landing at Masbate airport, about 235 miles south-east of Manila, Roxas said.
An aide of Robredo escaped from the plane as it sank and was rescued by fishermen, then went back to help in the search, Roxas said.

The search involving 600 coastguard, police and military personnel backed by dozens of civilians ended after a foreign deep-sea volunteer diver saw the wreckage.
As interior secretary, Robredo was in charge of the national police and provincial governments.
He was popular for his reformist views and policies and clean image that were prominent since he entered politics as Naga city's mayor in 1988, deviating from the political patronage and corruption that characterised traditional Filipino politicians. He won a Ramon Magsaysay award – regarded as Asia's version of a Nobel prize – in 2000 for good governance.

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