A Philippine Navy (PN) aircraft carrying out a routine maritime patrol mission in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) turned into a mercy flight on May 9 when its crew received information about an injured Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) serviceman who required immediate evacuation from Pag-asa Island.

The Navy aircraft, NV312, successfully carried out the mercy flight, taking injured Seaman Second Class Frynz Paul Sambolan back to the city for proper medical care and attention.

Sambolan, a deployed PCG personnel in the Pag-asa Island detachment, was burned in the second degree after a cooking gas burner burst immediately next to him, injuring his left arm and face.

“The island’s resident nurse immediately attended to his burns and injuries while waiting for NV312 to arrive. Fortunately, the weather was favorable and the crew of NV312 was able to safely and successfully carry out the mercy flight,” Western Command (WESCOM) said in a post Wednesday, May 10.

After the plane landed in Puerto Princesa, the injured Sambolan was sent to the Adventist Hospital Palawan (AHP). He is presently in good health and recovering from his injuries.

WESCOM said that Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos recognized the importance of preserving lives and redirected the aircraft to Pag-asa Island on May 9 for an emergency medical evacuation mission.

“He also values the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ shared mandate and close partnership with other law enforcement agencies in the WESCOM Joint Operational Area (JOA), such as the PCG, Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR),” WESCOM said.