Technical divers from Australia, United States and the Philippines with the assistance of volunteer divers from other countries have finally found and retrieved the body of Philippine Interiors Secretary Jesse Robredo, who perished in air crash Saturday
Divers have found Robredo inside the ill-fated Piper Seneca six-seater aircraft chartered by the Cabinet Secretary at a depth of 180 feet below the surface at 7:45 a.m. Tuesday.
Retrieval operations continue as the pilots have yet to be extricated from the mangled aircraft lying underneath the deep waters of Masbate in the Philippines.
Transportation and Communication Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas broke the news in a briefing at 9:15 a.m., saying that Robredo’s body was found 800 meters from the shore.
“The body has indications that it belongs to Sec. Jess,” said Roxas via the Inquirer.net as he tried to fight off tears.
According to Roxas, Robredo's body was recovered first because the two pilots were trapped inside the cockpit and it will take more time to extricate them.
Secretary Jesse Robredo was on board a private chartered aircraft which took off from Cebu on its way to Naga City when the six-seater Piper Seneca aircraft he was riding developed engine trouble and crashed into the waters of Masbate City Saturday afternoon.
It was reported the pilot tried to land the airplane at the Masbate airport but it reportedly overshot the runway by around 300 meters and crashed into the sea at about 4 p.m. Saturday. Read more.
After the official announcement of Robredo's body retrieval, Roxas immediately called President Aquino who personally informed Atty. Leni Robredo, the wife of the Interiors Secretary of the recovery of her husband's body.
Robredo's body has been airlifted to Naga City where he served as Mayor for 18 years. At the airport, he was given arrival honors.
ABS-CBN News reported President Aquino has personally brought the remains to the Archbishop Palace in Naga City where the family was waiting.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan a long-time friend and political ally of Robredo said he was "dumbfounded by the news."
"We are deeply saddened by this latest news confirming that Sec. Jesse's body has been retrieved," Pangilinan said. "He was a longtime friend and a political ally. The nation has lost a dedicated and committed public servant."
Arrangements are being made for the public viewing and wake of Secretary Robredo.