MANILA: The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) confirmed on Saturday the helicopter that crashed Thursday in Sarawak, Malaysia, was of Philippine registry.
The CAAP said it would wait for the air accident report from its Malaysian counterpart.
Killed in the crash were five Malaysians, including Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Noriah Kasnon and Plantation Industries and ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Sundaran Annamalai.
Noriah was campaigning for the ruling Barisan Nasional in Sarawakâ€™s state elections.
Sundaran served as executive director representing the constituency of Brunei, Fiji, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga and Vietnam on the board of the World Bank in Washington DC.
As of Sunday the bodies of the five Malaysian passengers had been recovered. Only the Filipino pilot, Capt Rudolph Rex Raagas, remained unaccounted for.
The other fatalities were identified as Noriahâ€™s husband, Asmuni Abdullah, and her assistant, Ahmad Sobri Harun, and Kuala Kangsar MP Datuk Wan Mohammad Khair-Il Anuar Wan Ahmad.
CAAP spokesperson Eric Apolonio said the helicopter â€“ a Eurocopter AS350B owned by GCA Skyline Aviation Inc. â€“ was on its way to the state capital Kuching from Betong in Sarawak when it went missing.
Initial reports from Malaysian air authorities said the helicopter took off from Betong at 4:12pm, Thursday but lost contact with the control tower after 20 minutes.
It had crashed 220km from Kuching, the CAAPâ€™s Malaysian counterpart said.
Malaysian authorities are investigating amid continuing search and rescue operations for Raagas. â€“ Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network