Pilots and Passengers Survive Mission Helicopter Crash

Aircraft landed in a banana plantation on its way to Philippines’ Mountain View College.

Philippine Adventist Medical Aviation Services, Southern Asia-Pacific Division, and Adventist Review
Pilots and Passengers Survive Mission Helicopter Crash
The PAMAS R44 Raven helicopter after it crashed in a banana plantation in Sitio Babahagon, Lantapan, Bukidnon, Philippines. [Photo: courtesy of PAMAS Facebook Page]

Early on July 27, at around 9:45 a.m., a Philippine Adventist Medical Aviation Services (PAMAS) R44 Raven helicopter crashed in a banana plantation in Sitio Babahagon, Lantapan, Bukidnon, on its way to Mountain View College.

Two pilots and two passengers were on the chopper, and, thankfully, all survived the accident. The cause of the crash is still uncertain, as no results from the investigation have been shared yet.

PAMAS helicopter pilot Jared Hoewing was flying the helicopter near the airbase in Valencia City, Bukidnon, in the morning of July 27. He was about 3,000 feet (915 m) up when the helicopter began to lose power, forcing him to make an emergency landing in a banana field about 3 miles (5 km) from the airbase. Fortunately, neither the pilot nor the passengers suffered major injuries. One passenger was sent to the hospital for further treatment but was not in critical condition. There were no other injuries.

Still Recovering From Previous Tragedy

PAMAS staff are still reeling from a previous tragedy, the disappearance of the Yellow Bee (a PAMAS helicopter), which was carrying two passengers, its pilot, and a missionary volunteer.

Prior to this latest accident, PAMAS had explained the context in which the organization has been serving lately.

“The last [few] months have been a challenging time for our ministry with the profound loss of two of our missionaries and one helicopter. But even amid this tragedy, we have seen the loving and omnipotent hand of God at work, bringing abundant good out of difficult times and inspiring us to carry on with renewed faith and determination!” the post read.

“On March 1, our yellow Alouette helicopter disappeared over the ocean while flying back to our base in Palawan from the remote island of Mangsee after picking up a patient. On board were pilot Daniel Lui, nurse Janelle Alder, a patient, the patient’s husband, and his sister. Thanks to the outpouring of support from around the world, we were able to do extensive aerial searches for five days with our own aircraft and a 12-day detailed search of the ocean floor by a company hired for their expertise in this area. Unfortunately, the only evidence found has been Janelle’s shoes and the patient’s pillow. These were found floating in the ocean by fishermen in an expected area considering ocean currents and the last GPS signal location shown on Daniel’s tracking device,” the post read.

“The lack of answers regarding this situation has been hard. We have found it an opportunity for us to grow in our faith. God’s eternal understanding is trustworthy, though we find at times it is beyond our finite comprehension,” the organization wrote.

Grateful for Prayers

In a social media post, PAMAS expressed its appreciation for the prayer and support extended to them during this challenging time. 

“As we consider this incident, we want to praise God for His goodness in sparing the lives of all on board. We trust that the Lord will continue to hold this ministry in His hand. As we have said before, we are in a great controversy. We praise God that He, our captain, is in the business of taking that which was meant for evil and turning it for good,” PAMAS said.

“Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers during this time, they are much appreciated,” they added.

The original version of this story was posted on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division news site. Philippine Adventist Medical Aviation Services is an independent supporting ministry and is not operated by the corporate Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Philippine Adventist Medical Aviation Services, Southern Asia-Pacific Division, and Adventist Review