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Philippine minister on crashed plane

Sat August 18, 2012 11:04pm

A LIGHT plane carrying Philippine Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo has crashed into the sea while attempting an emergency landing.

At least one person has been rescued after Saturday's crash, but Robredo and the two pilots are missing, officials say.

The Cessna 172 plane took off from central Cebu city on Saturday afternoon, Transportation Secretary Manuel Roxas told DZBB radio.

It was heading to Robredo's hometown of Naga city in Camarines Sur province when the pilot informed the Masbate airport it would make an emergency landing. The plane was unable to reach the airport and crashed into the sea about 380km from Manila.

Roxas said an aide of Robredo was able to jump out and was rescued.

Robredo is one of the members of the cabinet closest to President Benigno Aquino and helped his election campaign in 2010.

The interior secretary is in charge of the Philippine national police and local government units.

Interior Undersecretary Rico Puno said he and Robredo had attended a gathering of civilian volunteers assisting in police work in Cebu. After the event, the secretary took the plane for Naga, he said.

"Later, we got a call from the aide that their plane had developed engine trouble and they needed help," Puno said.

The coast guard said the plane crashed about 1.8 kilometres from the shore close to Masbate airport.

A search for Robredo and the two pilots was stopped because of poor light, Puno said.

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