Authorities have expanded their search for Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo not only to islands near Masbate, but also to mainland Bicol, civil defense administrator Benito Ramos said Monday.

Aside from the area where the plane crashed, search is also ongoing around Masbate’s Burias and Ticao islands, as well as the coastal towns of Matnog, Bulan, and Donsol in Sorsogon, and Pasacao in Camarines Sur, in Bicol mainland, Ramos said in a text message.

Rescuers considered the possibility that Robredo and the plane’s two pilots, Capt. Jessup Bahinting and Kshitiz Chand, were swept away by the sea current, he said.

Members of the Army’s 9th Infantry Division are carrying out the search in the coastal towns of Bicol mainland, he said. (John Roson)

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