Remains of all 4 Cessna passengers brought down from wreckage on Mayon

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 2) — Authorities have officially terminated the week-long retrieval efforts for the remains of the four passengers of the ill-fated Cessna plane that crashed near Mayon Volcano’s crater.

The last body of the victims was finally brought down to Barangay Anoling at the base of Mayon on Thursday evening, according to Camalig, Albay Mayor Carlos Irwin Baldo.

“The search and rescue operations for Cessna 340A ran for more than 5 days until operations were shifted from rescue to retrieval, following the confirmation of the 4 passengers' actual location, identity, and situation,” Baldo wrote in a Facebook post.

The ill-fated aircraft carried pilot Capt. Rufino James Crisostomo Jr. and crewman Joel Martin, both employees of local geothermal firm Energy Development Corporation. The other two were the company's Australian technical consultants, Simon Chipperfield and Karthi Santhanam.

Baldo said their remains are set to be turned over to Scene of the Crime Operation personnel of the Philippine National Police for further investigation.

“The Cessna 340A operations brought forth new challenges in terms of local incident response, opting LGU-Camalig, along with partner public and private agencies to take in and utilize what they have learned to improve further the efforts toward disaster risk reduction and management,” he expressed.

Baldo said the remains of the three other passengers were brought down from the volcano to Barangay Anoling at 3:13 a.m. on Thursday.

The local chief executive earlier said 20 responders were assigned to carry each body to avoid exhaustion and to ensure safety, considering the volcano’s rough terrain.

The Cessna plane took off for Manila from the Bicol International Airport on the morning of Feb. 18 but lost contact with the air traffic control minutes later.

Aviation authorities positively identified the wreckage on Feb. 21 in a restricted zone on Mayon Volcano, which is under Alert Level 2 or “moderate unrest.”

Bad weather and the volcano's difficult terrain have hampered retrieval efforts which began last week.