SN ABOITIZ Power-Magat, Inc. (SNAP-Magat) on Monday said it is facilitating assistance to the families of the four people killed in a plane crash on Sunday in Nueva Vizcaya.
The plane, a Baron fixed wing airplane with Rg. No. RP C1974, was conducting a cloud-seeding operation when it crashed at a cornfield in Barangay Santa Lucia in Bagabag town.
SNAP officials expressed sadness when they learned that the aircraft used for cloud-seeding operations to induce rains for the Magat dam crashed.
“We wish to convey our deepest condolences and sympathies to the families and loved ones of those who died in the incident. We have coordi–nated with the agencies involved and the aviation company has started to facilitate assistance to the families of the passengers and crew,” said SNAP spokesman, lawyer Mike Hosillos.
SNAP officials said the incident happened on the second day of the cloud-seeding operations jointly conducted by the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) of the Department of Agriculture, the National irrigation Administration (NIA) and SNAP-Magat.
Rhoda Santos, Corporate Communication Manager, said Grand Aviators Aviation Corporation (GAAC), a cloud seeding provider for BSWM, was engaged to provide cloud seeding services over the Magat watershed “to augment the inflow to the Magat dam which is nearing its critical level.”
BSWM Director Silvino Tejada said a team of five experts were fielded to oversee the conduct of the cloud seeding operations pursuant to its mandate and expertise.
Tejada said the three of the five-person team joined the sortie on April 27, including team leader Leilanie Naga, Melvin Simangan and Christopher Borja; the pilot from GAAC was identified as Capt. Philip Jubane.
SNAP officials said the families of all involved had already been notified and preparations are underway to bring the remains to their homes.
Meanwhile, the GAAC said it is cooperating with the Civil Aviation Administration of the Philippines (CAAP) currently conducting an investigation on the cause of the accident and the local law enforcement agencies.
Since 2009, cloud-seeding operations have been jointly undertaken by NIA, BSWM and SNAP when water level in Magat dam is nearing critical.
Santos said a technical working committee studies the inflow and hydrology pattern in Magat and NIA recommends the conduct of the activity.
He said the BWSM is mandated to implement and oversee the same as part of the technical cooperation, with SNAP “providing financial assistance in support of the activity.”
Santos said the BSWM oversees cloud seeding operations in Magat for 30 days with two one-hour sorties conducted per day.
The additional water inflow to the Magat dam as a result of cloud seeding operations is used to irrigate thousands of hectares of farmlands in the Magat area and depending on NIA’s irrigation diversion requirement (IDR), the same water is used for power generation.