CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines (AP) — A Philippine air force helicopter carrying supplies for counterinsurgency forces crashed in the country’s south on Saturday apparently due to engine trouble, killing all seven people on board, military officials said.
The UH-1H helicopter tried to make an emergency landing after encountering engine problems but crashed in a mountainous area in Impasugong town in Bukidnon province, regional army spokesperson Maj. Rodulfo Cordero Jr. said.
Troops secured the crash site and retrieved the bodies of four air force crewmen, including two pilots, as well as an army soldier and two militiamen, Cordero and the army said.
Government forces have been undertaking on and off offensives against communist guerrillas in the region and elsewhere in the country after peace talks between President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration and the Maoist insurgents collapsed.
The guerrillas have been weakened by decades of battle setbacks, infighting and surrenders but remain a national security threat. The military says about 3,500 New People’s Army guerrillas remain waging one of Asia’s longest-running insurgencies.