2 die as PAF plane in Balikatan crashes

DateLine Philippines

Two Philippine Air Force (PAF) pilots died when their OV-10 Bronco light attack aircraft crashed in Crow Valley, Tarlac while participating in joint military exercises with American forces, the military said Wednesday.

Lieutenant Colonel Romeo Brawner, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman, declined to identify the fatalities until their families have been notified.

Brawner said the OV-10, numbered 399, was undergoing aerial gunnery training as part of the Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) military exercises when it went down at around 2:55 p.m.

Minutes later, a Huey helicopter took off from Clark Airfield in Pampanga to search for the downed aircraft and recovered the bodies of the two pilots.

Wednesday’s crash is the second in less than a month for the Air Force.

On January 28, a Nomad aircraft crashed soon after taking off from Cotabato City’s Awang Airport, killing all eight passengers and crew, including Major General Mario Lacson, commander of the 3rd Air Division based in Zamboanga City, and one woman on the ground.

The Bronco, manufactured by North American (Rockwell) is the main ground attack aircraft of the PAF.

The Balikatan exercises are an annual activity between Filipino and American forces.

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