(UPDATED: 7:44 p.m.) A private plane carrying Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo crashed a few kilometers off Masbate City on Saturday afternoon.
Reports said one person was recovered in the area, while search and rescue operations are being conducted for Robredo and the two pilots.
Robredo was aboard the Piper Seneca plane with an aide, Jun Abrazado, who was recovered but was injured. Abrazado jumped out of the plane before the crash.
The pilot sent distress call to Masbate airport at about 5 p.m. to make an emergency landing, but the plane did not make it and crashed to the sea.
The secretary was on his way from Mactan in Cebu to Naga City, Robredo's hometown after attending a political meeting. He is about to spend his long weekend vacation there.
The presidential spokesman released an advisory on the accident:
At the present time, search and rescue operations are ongoing for the aircraft carrying Secretary of the Interior Jesse Robredo, an aide, and the pilot of the plane. The aircraft was off the coast of Masbate when contact was lost earlier today. We will be updating the public as details are confirmed: speculation is not useful at this point.
As of 7:40 p.m., Masbate Gov. Lanete reported that rescue operations for Robredo temporarily halted due to visibility, "too dark to continue."