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No survivors aboard a plane that's been missing for over a month in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — The wreckage of a small plane that went missing in late January in the northeastern Philippines has been found, ending weeks of mystery about its whereabouts.

The downed Cessna 206 plane was spotted Thursday around 11 a.m local time in Isabela Province, according to local authorities. Neither the pilot, nor any of the six passengers were found alive, Constante Foronda, head of the Isabela Incident Management Team said.

"No survivors," he told reporters at a press conference. "We delayed this briefing until all the relatives of the passengers and the pilot have been informed."

A spokesman for the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office in Divilacan, the town in Isabela Province near where the wreckage was found, also told reporters that parts of the plane were scattered about the area and clothing — assumed to be from the passengers — hung from the trees.

Local media have previously reported that pilot Capt. Eleazar Mark Joven and passengers Xam Siguerra, 10; Rom Joshtle Manaday, 16; Mark Eiron Siguerra, 21; Val Kamatoy, 34; and Josefa Perla Espana, 59, were aboard the plane.

Officials say they cannot currently give a definitive answer about what brought the plane down, as they will need to further inspect the wreckage. They say the crash site is located in a mountainous area and that it could take up to three days to recover the remains.

The Cessna took off on January 24 from Cauayan airport, a small airport also located in Isabela Province, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines told local media. The plane was supposed to fly across the Sierra Madre mountains and land only about 45 miles away at Maconacon Airport — but never made it.

Authorities say the plane failed to respond about half an hour after it was supposed to land.

What followed was an intense weekslong search through mountainous terrain and bad weather that involved volunteers, local search and rescue personnel, scent-tracking dogs as well as the police and the military.

The Cessna 206 is a single-engine plane with a 36-foot wingspan and a length of a little over 28 feet, according to GlobalAir.com. It can hold up to 5 passengers and 1 crew member and is used for both commercial and private flights, as well as pilot training.

Cessna is an American brand headquartered in Wichita, Kansas.

The discovery of the Cessna in Isabela Province comes just a week after the remains of four passengers and the crew of a Cessna 340 were recovered near the Mayon Volcano in Bicol, Philippines.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ashley Westerman is a producer who occasionally directs the show. Since joining the staff in June 2015, she has produced a variety of stories including a coal mine closing near her hometown, the 2016 Republican National Convention, and the Rohingya refugee crisis in southern Bangladesh. She is also an occasional reporter for Morning Edition, and NPR.org, where she has contributed reports on both domestic and international news.
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