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Debris, human foot found after Philippine military plane crashes

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Rescue workers have recovered debris and a human foot after a small military aircraft crashed into the sea in the northern Philippines on Friday morning, local authorities said on Saturday. The foot is believed to belong to one of the pilots.

The accident occurred at around 7:15 a.m. local time on Friday when the Aermacchi SF.260 aircraft crashed near La Monja Island, a small uninhabited island about 8 kilometers (5 miles) south of Mariveles in Bataan province. It had taken off about 20 minutes earlier from Danilo Atienza Air Base in Cavite province.

The aircraft was carrying out a routine training flight when it went down in the sea, an air force spokesman said, giving no other details. A search-and-rescue operation was launched shortly after the plane failed to land as scheduled. The two people on board were identified as pilot Major Neil Tumaneng and co-pilot Lt. Michael Arugay.

Hours after the search began, rescue workers recovered several items near La Monja Island, including a broken helmet, a fuel tank, and a flight seat. Fishermen in the area also recovered a badly-mangled human foot which is believed to belong to one of the missing pilots, and a search was continuing on Saturday for more debris and remains.

In December 2011, fourteen people were killed and some twenty others were injured when a small cargo plane crashed into a slum area near the Philippine capital of Manila. The aircraft struck several shanties and an empty school building as it went down, causing a fire which engulfed as many as 70 houses nearby.

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