New details have emerged surrounding this weekend’s helicopter crash that killed two, and left Celestina handbag designer Tina Ocampo, her business partner-husband Ricco, and six others seriously injured.
On Sunday, billionaire hotelier Archimedes “Archie” King summoned his helicopter to take himself and six friends — including the Ocampos, King’s wife Ling-Ling, Dunlop Tires president Christopher Chilip, his wife and Standard Insurance president, Patricia, and Anton San Diego, editor of the Filipino edition of Tatler magazine — from the Filipino island Puerto Galera, back to Manila. Before reaching its destination the helicopter crashed into a mountain in the country’s Batangas province, killing King, 61, and its pilot Jun Taborlupa.
The group had been in Puerto Galera on a sailing trip from Manila aboard King’s yacht. It’s understood that King chose to return to the Filipino capital in his helicopter instead of the yacht because of poor weather conditions, which a source says is likely the cause of the aircraft’s failure.
A family friend of the Ocampos told WWD that the remaining six passengers survived largely thanks to Taborlupa’s actions in the final moments of his life. “[He] turned off the engine as the chopper fell, hence the absence of an explosion,” they said.
“The doors were miraculously flung open, perhaps from the impact of the crash, or from the buildup of pressure in the cabin. Nevertheless, they were able to extricate themselves from the aircraft,” the source added.
Upon escaping the aircraft, the accident’s survivors journeyed by foot down the mountain in heavy rains to the nearest town, where Red Cross medics were waiting. All injured survivors were moved to St Luke’s Hospital in Manila for further observation.
Tina and Ricco both sustained injuries that required hospitalization. Tina, designer of the accessory label Celestina that is sold in Barneys New York and Neiman Marcus, broke an arm and fractured her tailbone. Ricco sustained a serious laceration to his left leg. The nature of the remaining passengers’ injuries could not be learned.
The Ocampos daughter Betina, a fashion designer based in New York, provided a statement to WWD, saying: “My parents are recovering very fast. Overall we are just extremely lucky to have them alive.” The couple is expected to be discharged from the hospital within the next few days.