Teams still trying to reach ‘white object’ seen amid Cessna plane search — Isabela PDRRMO

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Philippine government troops on Friday trek the Sierra Madre mountains in Isabela, north of Manila, in search of a Cessna plane carrying six people that was declared missing last week.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 29) — Search-and-rescue teams are cutting across the virgin northern portion of the Sierra Madre Mountains in Isabela in an effort to locate a possible debris from the Cessna plane that has been missing for five days.

A white object that could be a piece of the missing plane was seen among the trees in Isabela's dense forest early Sunday, according to the Isabela Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO).

“Nung tumingala sila, may nakita po silang puting bagay -- kulay green po lahat dahil puro puno yun, dahil rainforest po yung area… Nung gusto nilang i-verify, natakpan ng ulap. Hanggang ngayon, natatakpan pa rin ng ulap yung area,” Isabela PDDRMO officer Constante Foronda told CNN Philippines’ Newsroom Weekend.

[Translation: When they looked up, they saw a white object — everything was green because it was full of trees, the area is a rainforest... They wanted to verify but it was covered by clouds. Until now, the area is still covered by clouds.]

"Sa ngayon, may mga search and rescue po na trying to reach the place kung saan po nakita yung puting object [Right now, there are search and rescue teams trying to reach the place where the white object was seen]," he added.

The plane, with six people on board including the pilot, has been missing for five days shortly after its departure from Cauayan Airport in Isabela.

READ: Search for missing Cessna plane with 6 passengers now at 'full scale'

Foronda said four teams were dispatched to a mountainous terrain in Maconacon, near the coverage area of a tower used by a cellphone of one of the passengers. The area was determined with the help of telecommunication companies.

The disaster management official said if not for weather disruptions and natural circumstances of the area — limited visibility, slippery terrain, and a lack of an established trail — rescuers could reach the location where the white object was sighted in 10 hours.

READ: Rescuers zero in on possible location of missing Cessna

“Wala pong established na path papunta doon, virgin forest po iyon. Kumbaga sila po yung mga unang taong tumapak dun sa dinadaanan nila ngayon. At tsaka yung pagod po ng mga rescuers, pinipilit po talaga nilang akyatin,” he said.

[Translation: There is no established path to get there, it’s a virgin forest. It seems that they were just the first people to use the path they are on now. And also, the rescuers are tired, but they are really trying their best to get there.]

Foronda said authorities are in constant communication with the families of the passengers and the pilot.