Chopper of candidates crash-lands

Manila, Philippines --- A helicopter that was supposed to transport three board member candidates from the second district of Northern Samar crash-landed along the shore of Rawis village of Laoang town around 9:30 a.m. yesterday due to engine trouble.

The passengers were incumbent San Roque Mayor Andre Abalon and his fellow board member candidates Dioscoro Asinas and Panoy Pinca. The three are running under the National Unity Party (NUP).

Senior Inspector Sam Sauro Andarino, chief of police of the Laoang Municipal Police Station, said aside from Abalon, who suffered severe head injury, the two other candidates and the pilot sustained minor injuries. They were brought to Catarman Doctors Hospital for treatment.
Abalon was reportedly hit by the rotor of the helicopter when he attempted to get out ahead of the other passengers.

Andarino said based on the initial investigation, the helicopter was taking off from the compound of Rep. Emil Ong (2nd District, Northern Samar) when the pilot identified as Capt. Dino Garcia noticed trouble with the engine.

The pilot decided to go back but the attempt was futile and instead the helicopter crash landed just few meters away from where it took off.

Ong owns RP-C 7788, the helicopter that was supposed to transport the candidates.

Meantime, Andarino said that they are still conducting a follow-up investigation even as based on the statement of the pilot that the crash was due to an engine trouble.

Rawis village is located at the mainland of Northern Samar and is part of the island town of Laoang, which is about an hour away from the provincial capital of Catarman. (PNA)