Filipino and US authorities kept the
incident secret until 'Minda News,' a local online news site,
ZAMBOANGA CITY: A US military spy plane crashed in
North Cotabato province where Filipino troops are battling
Muslim rebels, reports said.
The unmanned aerial vehicle crashed October 18
on a neighborhood in the town of Pikit after hitting a row of
coconut trees. Filipino and US authorities kept the news of
the crash secret until a local online news site, Minda News,
filed a report about the ill-fated unmanned aerial vehicla (UAV).
It said the UAV, whose wingspan was about eight feet, crashed
at night near the house of a certain Eusebio Camancho.
Policemen quickly recovered the wreckage of the spy plane and
returned the next morning to collect debris of the ill-fated
"There was no explosion, just a loud thud," Minda News quoted
Camancho as saying.
The UAV is believed to be one of many spy planes used by US
forces deployed in the Mindanao.
US troops are helping Filipino military defeat terrorism.
Camancho said the UAV was made of silvery metal and grey
materials, whose parts included rubber tubing and wirings. Its
body, he said, measures about 12 inches only. Police and
military declined to comment about the crashed UAV. US embassy
and military officials also did not give any statement about
the unmanned aircraft.
It was not the first time that a US military UAV had crashed
in the southern Philippines. In 2006, villagers in Sulu
province held for ransom a crashed unmanned US drone used by
the military in tracking down Abu Sayyaf
militants whose group is tied to al-Qaeda
and Jemaah Islamiah.
The remote-controlled spy plane crashed February 10 in the
mountain enclave of Marang in Indanan town. Local television
news showed footage of a villager holding the ill-fated UAV,
whose wingspan was about one meter long and has a slim body
and a video camera mounted on its belly. The villagers
demanded P100,000 in exchange for the unmanned aircraft.
Another US unmanned spy plane also crashed in November 2007
during a practice flight in Mount Tumatangis in Sulu. It was
unknown if the drone was found or not, but the crash was never
reported to the press. In March 2002, a US spy drone called
predator also crashed into the sea off Zamboanga City. The UAV
went down for a still unknown reason and was also recovered.
The US military has a fleet of various unmanned spy planes,
from a palm-size remote-controlled aircraft, to bigger and
sophisticated high-altitude; long-range remotely piloted
vehicles designed for long-endurance photographic
reconnaissance and electronic surveillance missions, and as
attack air crafts. The US military had used a Philippine Air
Force base in Mactan Island in Cebu province as station of its fleet
of Orion spy planes.