A helicopter ferrying a general, two senior aides of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and two other officials was reported missing in the mountains in the northern Philippines late on Tuesday, the press secretary said.
Cerge Remonde said the officials were on an inspection trip near the world renowned Banawe rice terraces that Arroyo will visit on Wednesday when the Bell helicopter they were riding lost radio contact.
“Our authorities are now searching for the helicopter,” Remonde told reporters, adding he was hoping the aircraft had landed somewhere but lost communication due to poor signals in the Cordillera mountains.
Remonde said troops and police officers in Ifugao province had been alerted to look for the missing presidential helicopter.
The chopper left Baguio City about 4:30 p.m. (0830 GMT) for a 30 minute flight to Banawe, where the 2,000 year-old rice terraces are located.
Among the passengers were Brigadier-General Carlos Clet, the president’s senior military aide, Press Undersecretary Jose Capadocia, the president’s appointments secretary, and two other palace officials.
Two pilots and two other crew were also on board.