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Chopper crashes off Bulacan

The pilot and co-pilot of a private helicopter escaped harm early Sunday afternoon when the aircraft they were flying ditched near the shoreline of Purok 6 in Obando, Bulacan.

The helicopter and the crew were flying back to their home base in Pampanga after doing relief work in typhoon devastated Visayas.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), a US C-130 aircraft responded to the mayday call made by the flight crew. Within minutes of the crash, the crew of the U.S. C-130 PAG-ASA 47 dropped life vests to the two pilots which kept them afloat while waiting for rescuers.

CAAP records showed that the private helicopter, a Bolkow 105 with registration number RP-C699, was piloted by Captain James Eagle together with Capt. Iren Dornier.

The two had just come from Kalibo in Aklan where they helped transport relief goods to the areas affected by typhoon Yolanda.

The CAAP disclosed that the distress signal that Capt. Eagle has sent out was picked up by a U.S. C-130 PAG-ASA 47 which located it with the help of CAAP personnel relaying the coordinates.

The CAAP Operation Rescue and Coordinating Center also contacted the coast guard teams near the area, who immediately sent rubber boats.

CAAP investigators were immediately sent to determine the cause of the incident. (Anjo Perez)