Philippine Adventist Medical Aviation Services (PAMAS) has tapped the services of a private company to conduct underwater search for the “Yellow Bee” chopper that went missing along with its pilot and four passengers in the waters off Balabac island town last March 1.

Western Command spokesperson Commander Ariel Coloma told Palawan News in a telephone interview earlier today that a new team will be joining the ongoing search and rescue operation for the chopper, that will bring equipments to scour the “possible crash site” of the chopper.

“PAMAS has tapped the services of a private company from Manila who will bring sonar equipments and an ROV (remote operated vehicle) and will deploy it in the area later today,” Coloma said.

“For now, we have identified the last known location of the chopper as a possible crash site but we still need to confirm if it’s really there because for the last several days, our search and rescue teams have been searching around the area,” he added, referring to the last known position of the chopper which is around 30-35 nautical miles east of Balabac mainland.

Coloma further stated that SAR operatives have scoured almost the entire east coast of Balabac since March 1 when the chopper was reported missing, adding that at this point, the operation is still for search and rescue operation.

Aside from the fire extinguisher, pillow and a pair of shoes found during the early days of operation and the reported oil sleek reported, no other major developments.

“We are still trying to confirm the reported oil sleek so we are banking on the ROV and sonar equipments. With these maybe we will be able to find new leads,” Coloma said.

Meanwhile, Pris Santos Knapp of PAMAS confirmed that the sonar equipments and ROV are on the way and is expected to arrive in the area any time today.

Both Coloma and Knapp however said they have no idea as to the specific details of the company and the capability of the equipments.

“This is a private company who offered their services for free,” Knapp said.

“Anyway, whatever progress there will be we will post it because we want to see whatever there is under the sea because we’ve been searching up in the air,” she added.