The Philippines air force said Saturday that one of its light planes, which is manufactured in Italy, crashed in the sea during a training mission. Two pilots were killed in the crash, according to The Associated Press (AP).
The single-prop SF-260FH which crashed, was a trainer aircraft, according to GMA News, which cited Air Force spokesman Lt. Col. Ernesto Canaya. The official added that the crash happened about 300 meters off the shoreline of Barangay Bucana in Nasugbo township. The aircraft took off from the Fernando Air Base in the city of Lipa at 9:07 a.m. local time, to participate in a three-plane formation during a training mission for the activities to commemorate the 70th anniversary of province being liberated from Japan, during the end of the World War II.
Canaya added, according to AP, that the rescuers recovered the bodies of the pilot and the co-pilot, who were declared dead. The remaining 16 SF-260FH planes were reportedly grounded until an investigation into the incident does not determine the cause of the crash, Canaya said.
The Filipino military is reportedly one of the poorest equipped forces in the world, AP reported, adding that the country plans to acquire a dozen FA-50 fighter jets from South Korea to improve its air force by 2017. The country currently faces challenges from Muslim extremists and communist insurgents while it struggles to tackle the incursions led by China into the disputed waters of the South China Sea, AP reported.