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PIA Press Release

Air Force rescues lost mountaineers

Cauayan City, Isabela (26 January) -- The Philippine Air force-Tactical Operations Groups 2 (PAF-TOG2) rescued five local mountaineers and a Belgian national in a remote area in the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park (NSMNP) particularly at the Ilagan-Divilacan boundaries.

The group belongs to the Cabiao Kid Foundation, an environmentalist group based in Cabiao, Nueva Ecija.

PAF-TOG2 Commander Colonel Joven Ronan said that the mountaineers tried to make adventure trek and mountaineering to the NSMNP from Ilagan town to the town of Divilacan but were lost at the very forested area of the Sierra Madre due to excessive rainfall.

Col. Ronan said that their office was informed and requested to conduct rescue operations to the alleged trapped and lost adventurers/mountaineers through Governor Ma. Gracia Cielo M. Padaca.

The mountaineers were already on their fifth day trekking which started last January 13, 2010 when they were lost and trapped on a mound of rocks.

A local resident called Dumagat, who accompanied and served as the guide of the mountaineers on their way to Divilacan coastal town made a call to the provincial government and reported to the local officials regarding the lost trekkers/mountaineers.

Immediately the provincial government through Governor Ma. Gracia Cielo M. Padaca contacted the Philippine Air Force-Tactical Operational Group 2 based in this city who immediately dispatched its two choppers in the area.

The PAF chopper's pilot found it hard to penetrate the area since the mountains were covered with thick clouds, but on the next day the PAF continued their rescue operations and found the six mountaineers trapped in one big stone in one of the rivers of the Sierra Madre Park.

The rescued mountain trekkers were identified as Belgian Bert Peeters, lawyer Gari Bernal, Angelito Agustin, Luzviminda Lopez, and Narciso Gumanagan.

The victims were flown to 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army at Camp Upi, Gamu Isabela and were given immediate medical attention. (PIA Isabela) [top]

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