Motel chain owner, pilot killed in chopper crash in Batangas

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) – Two people died and six others were injured when an Augusta 109E helicopter crashed in Barangay Pinagkaisahan near Mount Maculot in Cuenca, Batangas on Sunday afternoon (July 5).

The reported incident was verified by the Batangas Police Provincial Office.

Those who died were the pilot, Capt. Felicisimo Taborlupa, and Victoria Court owner Archimedes "Archie" Rosario King.

Police identified the injured passengers as entrepreneur Ricco Ocampo and wife Tina Maristela Ocampo, a former model; Anton San Diego, editor-in-chief of Philippine Tatler; Christopher Chilip, Dunlop Tires president, and wife Patricia Chilip, president of Standard Insurance; and Ling-ling King, wife of the motel chain owner.

They were taken to the Martin Marasigan Hospital in Cuenca for treatment of minor fractures and bruises. They were later transferred to St. Luke's Medical Center in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, Metro Manila.

The bodies of the Taborlupa and King remained at the Marasigan Hospital while funeral arrangements were being made.

Senior Insp. Joel Laraya, chief of the Cuenca Police Station, said the crash could have been caused by zero visibility because of bad weather.

In a phone interview with CNN Philippines' Roanna Jamir, Laraya said that was what one of the survivors told authorities.

The helicopter – with registry number RP-C272 – came from Puerto Galera and was on its way to Metro Manila, according to Eric Apolonio, spokesperson of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

The helicopter was being operated by the Malate Tourist Development Corp.

Apolonio said CAAP started an investigation to find out, among other things, why the helicopter still went through the flight amid bad weather brought by Tropical Storm Egay (internationally known as Linfa).

Authorities will also look into other possible angles behind the chopper crash, such as mechanical failure and human error.

CAAP investigators, led by Col. Romel Ronda, were dispatched to site to inspect the wreckage of the helicopter, which was being secured by officers from the Cuenca Police Station.

The remains of the ill-fated chopper will be recovered from the crash site after the investigation of CAAP and the Philippine National Police.

Among the first who broke the story online was Philippine Red Cross Chairman Richard Gordon who posted this message on Twitter: